Africa / Animal Diseases / Disease Control / ECF / Event / ILRI / ILRIComms / ILVAC / Interview / LIVESTOCK-FISH / Project / USA / Vaccines

On a cancer killer of cattle in Africa–Voice of America interviews ILRI’s Vish Nene

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) visit to project sites, June 2011

Gregg Bevier (left) and Lee Klejtnot (right), of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with Vish Nene (middle), head of ILRI’s Vaccine Biosciences Program, visit an ILRI project site in Busia, in western Kenya, in 2011 (photo credit: ILRI/Eric Fevre).

(From Voice of America): ‘New research is underway to develop an advanced vaccine against East Coast fever — a parasitic disease that killed more than one-million cattle in Africa last year. Researchers say the project also could lead to better treatments for malaria and cancer in humans

‘International Livestock Research Institute says East Coast fever was found in 11 African countries in 2013. It caused $300-million in losses. The Nairobi-based institute warns the disease is spreading rapidly and poses a threat to 28-million cattle. . . .

East Coast fever is described as a cancer-like disease of cattle. And the reason for that is there is a huge expansion of infected white blood cells that occurs post-infection. And these infected white blood cells behave like cancer cells. So they proliferate in an uncontrolled fashion. They spread throughout the body of an infected animal. Eventually, you can get depression of immune responses.

‘Nene, who heads the institute’s Vaccine Biosciences Program, said East Coast fever can eventually cause pulmonary edema — a potentially fatal build-up of fluid in the lungs. . . .

‘The International Livestock Research Institute has received an $11 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop an advanced vaccine for the disease. . . .

‘Nene added that developing the new vaccine will take time – possibly 10 to 15 years barring any research breakthroughs. Researchers are expected to share their findings with those trying to develop a malaria vaccine and vice-versa.

‘Besides East Coast fever, the institute is helping to develop vaccines for African swine fever, goat plague, contagious bovine lung plague and Rift valley fever.’

This East Coast fever vaccine project is supported by a USD11-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (USA), with additional support coming from partners in a new consortium established to battle this African cattle killing disease. These partners/investors include the Centre for Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases (Malawi); GALVmed, a livestock-oriented non-profit product development partnership (UK); the Institute for Genome Sciences (University of Maryland, USA); the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp (Belgium); the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); the Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh, UK); the Royal Veterinary College (UK); the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS); and Washington State University (USA).

Read the whole story by Joe De Capua on Voice of America: New vaccine research aimed at cattle killer, 31 Jan 2014.

Listen to this 5-minute interview of ILRI’s Vish Nene by Voice of America’s Joe De Capua.

Read more from ILRI Clippings Blog on this topic:
Xinhua (China): Scientists launch consortium to control a lethal disease of cattle in Africa, 1 Feb 2014.

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