Researchers from Central Veterinary Institute in Lelystad, the University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen and Utrecht University have succeeded in developing a new, improved and safe vaccine for avian flu. The substance is suitable for vaccinating poultry on a large scale.
The new research has resulted in a vaccine that contains only dead virus particles and is thus safe for humans. The dead virus particles are built into an inulin matrix (inulin is an inert sugar) and the vaccine is produced in the form of a powder, which makes it extremely stable.
The aerosolized fine powder particles can be inhaled by the chickens. Unlike with classic flu vaccines, it is no longer necessary to inject each individual animal and mass application is thus possible. In a paper published last week in the renowned journal Vaccine, the researchers show that the vaccine protects chickens against avian flu (type H5N1) when it is administered via the airways.
The new technology will make it possible in future to vaccinate chickens on a large scale, without any risk to safety, thus preventing a new outbreak of avian flu.