With a strong know-how on new technology vaccines for avian influenza, vaccine manufacturer, Ceva animal health, has ample experience in controlling the disease. Time for Poultry World to sit down with their experts, Sylvain Comte, Christophe Cazaban, Bertrand le Tallec and Mustafa Seçkin Sandikli. The veterinary heavyweights are optimistic on the role a vaccine can play to mitigate the damage avian influenza causes.

“If the avian influenza outbreaks of the last season have taught us one thing, it is that the ancient solution of stamping out will not help us anymore,” said Comte. He emphasised that this is not the conclusion of a vaccine producer alone: “Industry and animal health representatives recently congregated at the International Alliance for Biological Standardization (IABS) HPAI meeting in Paris. Here we witnessed an important shift in the avian influenza discussion. Previously, every conversation on vaccination always ended with someone summing up the impossibilities due to potential trade restrictions. However, in the recent meeting it was established that the trade argument is no longer a prerequisite in taking steps forward.”

However, even without the fear for trade barriers, the experts state that there are still many steps in front of us. “There are many misconceptions about the old ‘killed’ vaccines, which we have to take away,” knows Ceva’s scientific director, Christophe Cazaban. He continued: “Our experiences with the vaccine in multiple countries has taught us that we can protect against multiple virus strains, reduce shedding and distinguish between vaccinated and infected birds (DIVA). The challenge now is that we move from countries with an endemic avian influenza situation with low monitoring to a highly controlled region where we have and want to maintain strict monitoring. That needs research, extra assurances and local scientific evidence and documentation. That is what is currently underway.”

It is time to stop considering avian influenza and the vaccination as a taboo and react with sense of urgency says Mustafa Seçkin Sandikli. “Misconceptions due to the inactivated vaccines still cause repeated questions, the loss of time and the frustration. One of the remarkable notes from the last IABS-HPAI meeting in Paris was that the vaccination is a crucial part for prevention strategy and the ideal vaccine is indeed a new technology vaccine like r-HVT vector vaccines. While the biosecurity measures still remain the fundamental pillar, now the following points are the expected values from the new technology vaccines: protection, transmission control, DIVA (distinguish infected from vaccinated birds).”

He added: “With more than 10 years of experience with around 2 billion doses of r-HVT vector avian influenza vaccine administration, Ceva is confident and motivated to meet the above expectations with a unique value addition to poultry.”

His colleague, Bertrand le Tallec, continues: “The demands for the avian influenza vaccine are much stricter compared to – for instance – the human Covid vaccine. And as the avian influenza situation is deemed less urgent by society at large, the pressure on governments to give a clear direction forward, is less than with Covid.”

According to Le Tallec a clear path for avian influenza is needed. Sandikli adds: “Until now, 300 million birds are being vaccinated with our r-HVT-H5 vaccine yearly. Meeting an increasing demand will need a lead time for a good vaccine production plan. A clear strategy and commitment will help us to stock up to meet the increased demand. Ceva has applied for registration in France and the paperwork for EU registration is underway.”

Comte adds: “We expect that our vaccine will get EU registration in 2023; however, that doesn’t automatically mean we can administer it. Registering and implementing a vaccine strategy are 2 separate things. That said, we are more than ready to use our vaccine as a tool in an approach where biosecurity, stamping out of infected flocks and protection by vaccination go hand in hand. We are confident that this will significantly help to mitigate the damaging effect of avian influenza.”

Article of: Fabian Brockotter Editor in Chief, Poultry World, Font: https://www.poultryworld.net/health-nutrition/health/avian-influenza-unspeakable-damage-and-unexplainable-consequences/