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UK scientists develop new vaccine against bird flu

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | January 13, 2020
Scientists in the UK have developed a new vaccine against avian influenza using a technique pioneered from the Pirbright Institute.
Avian influenza
Animal health   Avian influenza
In 2017 Pirbright had used genetic engineering to develop a more efficient and effective vaccine for Marek’s disease.

Topics: Vaccine bird flu UK

Professor Venugopal Nair, who is the head of the avian viral diseases programme, said at the time that one of the advantages of the new technique was that vaccines could be developed far more quickly.

He said then that the technique used to produce a more effective vaccine for Marek's disease could produce vaccines for new AI strains within days.

Now, a Pirbright team has announced that it has used the gene editing technique to produce a new vaccine that protects against both Marek's disease and avian influenza.

A team led by Professor Munir Iqbal, head of the avian influenza group from Pirbright, says the process is more efficient, as well as faster, compared to previous methods.

“HVT is already widely used in vaccines against Marek’s disease and can be administered to eggs, enabling automated delivery and providing birds with protection from the day they hatch,” said Professor Iqbal.