Lab Canada

University of Saskatchewan vaccine researchers in Kenya

Kenya – Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) are in Kenya to launch two major projects aimed at addressing food security through livestock vaccine development.

One project, led by VIDO-InterVac, is a 30-month initiative aimed at developing a vaccine for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), one of the most economically important livestock and trade diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 24 million people are at risk from its effects and the economic impact has been estimated to be $2 billion per year. The project has recently been awarded a total of $3.4 million from the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund with financial support from the International Development Research Centre and the Canadian International Development Agency. Kenyan partners include the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). By developing a subunit vaccine for CBPP, researchers hope to control the cattle disease.

A $3.1-million project was also launched in Kenya. Led by Dr. Lorne Babiuk at the University of Alberta with partners at VIDO-InterVac, the Agricultural Research Council in South Africa, and the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg, the goal is to develop an inexpensive, heat-resistant vaccine to protect cattle, sheep and goats from five major infectious diseases. A second vaccine to combat a highly contagious disease, African swine fever, is also being developed.

Canadian students will have an opportunity to work at KARI and ILRI where they will gain a deeper understanding of challenges facing the livestock industry in developing countries and a better perspective on research capabilities and possibilities in the developing world.