The Pirbright institute has developed a vaccine that is efficient both for avian influenza and duck enteritis.
The research led by Professor Munir Iqbal at The Pirbright Institute is based on inserting protective avian influenza virus genes into the duck enteritis virus (DEV) vaccine by using a method of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing that allows higher rates of gene insertion.
According to the researchers, the process is therefore more efficient and the resulting vaccine virus is able to protect ducks against both DEV and avian influenza.
Duck enteritis virus infects ducks, geese and swans, causing mortality rates of up to 100%. Vaccines are widely used to reduce the impact of DEV, and have recently been utilised for delivering vaccine components of other viruses such as avian influenza. Domestic duck populations in southeast Asia also play a key role in maintaining the reservoir of severe bird flu strains and allow infection to ‘spillover’ into chickens, making ducks important targets for vaccination campaigns.