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Scientists think vaccination against bird flu is an option

According to Viktor Irza, the chief poultry expert of the Federal Center for Animal Health of the Rosselkhoznadzor (FSBI ARRIAH), Russian scientists suggest authorizing vaccination against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry farms.

Scientists think vaccination against bird flu is an option
Photo by Aleksandr Plonskii /V&L

“In view of a very challenging animal health situation, we suggest allowing vaccination in both parent and commercial flocks, including laying hens and turkeys,’ Victor Irza said.

According to the expert, the risk for the industry is relatively low. The vaccination hasn’t been introduced earlier due to complications that arise when a product is meant for export. “In light of the potential risk of field strains circulation, we would have to constantly demonstrate to the competent authorities of the importing countries the effectiveness of the surveillance procedures in vaccinated flocks. Constant maintenance of this status would be very complex, time-consuming work, that requires analysis of large amounts of biomaterials and sera. That used to be a deterrent. Now the global situation has changed. The panzootic has emerged. And trends in disease severity, development and spread across countries and continents remain unclear”, explained Victor Irza.  

FGBI ARRIAH has already submitted its opinion to the Rosselkhoznadsor. Scientists don’t suggest overall vaccination of every commercial flock, but only in those, that suffered from avian influenza in 2020, and 2021. Moreover, vaccination is subject to close monitoring by regional animal health authorities. “Besides that, the cost of the vaccine should be covered by enterprises, not from the funds of the state budget, as it had been done at backyard farms”, the expert added.   

Reminder: vaccination against avian influenza is allowed only in backyard farms and free range poultry operations. Vaccination in commercial flocks is currently prohibited.

Earlier, the Russian Union of Poultry Producers (Rosptitsesoyuz) reached out to the Ministry of Agriculture, suggesting a review of the avian influenza vaccination strategy, and permission to be granted for parent flock vaccination in farms with the highest potential risk of outbreak.

As Mikhail Volkov, head of Laboratory for Epizootology and Monitoring of the Federal Center for Animal Health (FGBI “ARRIAH”) has earlier explained to V&L, one of the primary benefits of vaccination against highly pathogenic avian influenza is a minimized financial loss. Over the past year, HPAI outbreaks were confirmed in 22 regions of Russia and more than 6 million birds were destroyed. “Vaccination helps to maintain breeder and parent flocks, and minimizes food safety risks,” said Mikhail Volkov.

As V&L covered earlier, FGBI ARRIAH scientists are working on a vaccine against highly pathogenic avian influenza.

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English version, 25 May 2022 11:32
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