HPAI vaccine shows promise in commercial layer study

The Netherlands-based researchers have been evaluating two vaccines in layers housed in a commercial environment since September 2023.

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Courtesy Big Dutchman

Two highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) vaccines currently being tested in a field study effectively protect laying hens from the disease eight weeks after vaccination, according to research by Wageningen University & Research (WUR).

In the field study, 1,800 laying hens were vaccinated and housed on two commercial poultry farms. Eight weeks after vaccination, some of the vaccinated layer hens were taken to WUR where they were infected with HPAI to study the effectiveness of the two vaccines. After testing, the vaccines were proven to be effective against HPAI, WUR reported.

The trial at these two farms began in the fourth quarter of 2023 and will conclude in the third quarter of 2025. Four more groups of the birds will be infected with HPAI throughout the study to further evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccines.

“We examine virus transmission after vaccination, as well as survival rate, virus excretion and immune response. Based on these performances, we assess the effectiveness of the vaccines,” stated WUR Veterinary Microbiologist Evelien Germeraad.

"The fact that the vaccines work in practice is a very important step towards the large-scale vaccination of poultry against the bird flu virus," the Dutch agriculture ministry said in a statement.

"The government intends to make large-scale vaccination possible responsibly, taking into account animal and public health, as well as animal welfare. Also to minimize any unfavorable effects of the vaccination on trade.”

The research is being conducted by WUR, animal health organization Royal GD and Utrecht University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

More HPAI vaccination research from WUR

In March 2023, research from WUR found that two Herpes Virus of Turkey (HVT)-H5 vaccines were effective against HPAI in layer hens under laboratory conditions.

Both vaccines showed to be 100% effective in preventing disease, mortality after infection and the spread of the virus between birds with HPAI. 

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