Evaluation of a Chicken Astrovirus Vaccine to Improve Efficiency in Broiler Chickens


It is well established that embryos and hatchling chicks are the most affected by pathogenic strains of CAstV, which can result in embryo mortality, runting, poor thrift, stunting, abnormal feathering or kidney disease with increased mortality and culling. Therefore a breeder vaccine given to adult hens would be most effective as it would prevent vertical transmission of the virus into eggs from the hens and provide matAbs to the chicks to protect them against horizontal infections from the environment during the vulnerable neonatal period. Such a vaccine needs to be harmless to the hens, stimulate a strong immune response and provide protection to the offspring via maternallyderived antibodies against a range of pathogenic strains, most of which have been historically associated with the B group.


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Queen's University Belfast & Agri-Food and Biosciences InstituteQueen's University Belfast and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute have formed an alliance.  Queen’s University Belfast  (QUB) is ranked within the top 4 in the UK when it comes to exploitation of IP when measured based on total IP revenue. A report for the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) placed Queen’s in Group 1 for knowledge exchange and commercialisation, a cluster of 4 institutions defined as “large, high research intensity universities with significant IP activity”. The Welcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (WWIEM) boasts a new environment for interactive multi-disciplinary research and represents a £32 million recent investment. This research environment and the proximity of major tertiary hospitals promote the integration of both basic and clinical translational research facilitating the discovery and development of new targeted therapies and diagnostics. The laboratories within the WWIEM contain the latest equipment for all molecular and cell biology research, including advanced microscopy and image analysis, multi-parametric flow analysis and cell sorting (Wellcome Trust funding). In addition, core facilities include a tissue pathology core, genomics core and bioimaging core and a state-of-the-art SPF animal facility representing a further £7 million investment. The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) is an internationally renowned multidisciplinary scientific organisation that delivers research andother scientific services to a wide range of local, national and internationalcustomers in the public and private sectors. The staff of AFBI carry out worldclass scientific research, surveillance, and analytic and diagnostic testing in the areas of animal health and welfare, sustainable agricultural systems, plant science, food innovation and safety, environmental protection, fisheries and aquatic ecosystems, and agricultural and rural economics. State of the art high containment facilities for large animal infection and laboratories for tissue culture, molecular and immunological aspects of the work are available on the Veterinary Sciences Division site at AFBI.