This week, at the 2015 Animal Health Research Symposium, experts described four expectations that new vaccine adjuvants should meet, and presented data on a next-generation vaccine under development that could be the first to use DNA technology to immunize poultry against avian influenza virus (AIV). AIV was one of several disease organisms featured in 24 presentations at this two-day symposium addressing the growing risk of vector-borne diseases that are zoonotic, meaning they can spread among animals and humans.
“Disease-causing organisms are constantly evolving to gain a competitive edge, and many endanger both human and animal health,” said Tim Miller, Ph.D., co-founder of VaxLiant. “That’s why it is so important to focus research on preventive solutions that are agile and flexible enough to match this evolution, especially that of rapidly changing viruses causing zoonotic diseases.”
In his presentation, Miller highlighted the importance of developing new adjuvants — an ingredient added to vaccines to improve the resulting immune response — that are versatile enough to create next-generation vaccines. According to Miller, the ideal adjuvant should: 1) be flexible enough to enable vaccine developers to create a specific immune response (immunomodulation); 2) minimize cell destruction to allow in vitro development; 3) provide extended stability when the vaccine is stored or administered to the animal; and 4) include no animal-origin materials that could compromise safety, and restrict the import or export of animals and animal products.
Miller showed research on a novel adjuvant, ENABL, that meets these four expectations, and is now being used not only in conventional vaccines, but also to develop a production platform for next-generation vaccines.
In a separate presentation, Mary Ann Pfannenstiel, Ph.D., explained how ENABL is making it possible to create what could be the first practical DNA vaccine to fight AIV.
“For years, scientists have been looking for a way to overcome one of the key obstacles for DNA vaccines: large doses needed to create immunity, making them extremely expensive,” said Pfannenstiel. “ENABL’s unique design allows DNA vaccines to consistently deliver effectiveness using lower doses and with fewer inoculations. This means we can now tap into DNA technology to develop vaccines with distinct benefits for researchers, veterinarians and animals.”
Pfannenstiel presented studies showing how her research team combined ENABL with gene-sequenced DNA (specifically, the AIV hemagglutinin gene) to create a vaccine that gave superior results when administered to chickens.
She explained that they developed this vaccine using DNA technology to select and encode a specific antigen of the virus, rather than using all of the viral antigens. This allows differentiation among infected and vaccinated animals (DIVA). Combining DNA technology and a novel adjuvant also makes it possible to more quickly adjust vaccines to reflect circulating strains of AIV and other disease pathogens.
“Adjuvants that can be formulated and customized to increase effectiveness truly are a valuable tool for advancing vaccine technology,” concluded Pfannenstiel. “That, coupled with making it possible for vaccine developers to respond faster to emerging diseases, makes ENABL an important breakthrough in vaccine research.”
Although an AIV vaccine with ENABL is not yet available, research is continuing as the vaccine enters the commercial licensing process. For more information about ENABL and other antigen-delivery systems from VaxLiant, call 800-533-8617, email info@VaxLiant.com or visit VaxLiant.com.
ENABL is a novel, ready-to-use adjuvant from VaxLiant that can be added to vaccines to help improve the resulting immune response in cattle, poultry and swine. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved 13 ENABL formulations for safety with a 21-day withdrawal period, the shortest allowed for food-animal vaccines.
VaxLiant provides innovative antigen-delivery systems and technical support that give companies the flexibility they need to develop and commercialize safe, effective vaccines. VaxLiant is a joint venture between two established companies: Benchmark Biolabs, Lincoln, Nebraska, which has provided streamlined research-to-commercialization services since 1996, and AgriLabs, St. Joseph, Missouri, a leader in marketing vaccines, nutritionals and other animal-health products for more than 30 years.