Improved Vaccines for Control of East Coast Fever in Cattle

AFRICA - The Royal Veterinary College (RVC), through Professor Dirk Werling, is involved in a multi-national programme grant entitled "Improved vaccines for the control of East Coast fever in cattle in Africa".
calendar icon 7 February 2014
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This project was initially jointly led by the late Professor Declan McKeever and Professor Werling and the RVC is proud to continue taking forward this important project despite Professor McKeever’s recent sad death.

The grant, worth nearly $15 Million, is funded through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Normal Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative (NBCRI) of Feed the Future and the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.

East Coast fever is caused by the protozoan parasite Theileria parva ranks first in tick-borne disease constraints of cattle in sub-Saharan Africa and kills one animal every 30 seconds. It has a devastating impact on pastoralists and smallholder farmers because it can kill within three to four weeks of infection.

East Coast fever is present in 11 countries where roughly 28 million cattle are at risk, but has the potential to spread with the uncontrolled movement of infected cattle as the distribution of the tick vector and suitable tick habitats is wider than that of the parasite. Over one million cattle die of East Coast fever each year resulting in annual losses exceeding $300 million.

The project is implemented by a team of multi-national experts from the field of East Coast fever research, bovine immunology, parasitology and genomics with essential inputs from a private-public partnership and the private sector.

The experts are drawn from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) at Antwerp, GALVmed, the Center for Tick and Tick-Borne Diseases (CTTBD) in Mali, the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) at University of Maryland, the Roslin Institute at University of Edinburgh, Royal Veterinary College, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and Washington State University who together form the project’s Consortium.

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