An improved avian influenza (‘bird flu’) vaccine has been developed by a team including Hub investigator, Professor Munir Iqbal, head of the Avian Influenza Virus Group at researchers from The Pirbright Institute. The potential vaccine triggers a rapid immune response which protects chickens against signs of disease and reduces the level of virus that they could pass on, a key element to halting the spread of flu through flocks.
The vaccine would also be easier and less costly to produce than the traditional flu vaccines made in chicken eggs.
Professor Iqbal said:
By targeting the flu virus haemagglutinin protein to chicken immune cells, we have generated a powerful addition to the armoury of poultry vaccines.
Our improved vaccine could help prevent the spread of flu amongst vaccinated birds, which is essential for protecting poultry welfare, increasing food production, and reducing the risk of avian influenza spreading to humans.