Project: Co-circulation of avian influenza and velogenic Newcastle disease viruses -impact on pathogenesis, immune response and disease prevention.

Avian Influenza (AI) and velogenic Newcastle disease (vND) viruses are among the most important infectious diseases of poultry, representing a serious challenge for the poultry industry and an emerging disease threat for public health in some instances (e.g. AI subtypes H5N1, H7N7, H9N2). In many areas, AI and vND viruses co-circulate in the host population. Despite the mass use of AI and ND vaccines, severe cases are reported in vaccinated poultry flocks and questions arise from the field on their true efficacy against the most recent circulating virus strains. In addition, the influence of AI and ND co-infection on the immune response to vaccination has been questioned but insufficiently investigated, to date. As a consequence of the inherent genetic variability of these RNA viruses, virus variants differing in phenotypes can co-circulate, giving origin to diseases complex difficult to diagnose in a properly and timely manner. In this project proposal, scientists from Belgium, Israel, Italy and Sweden will perform experimental trials employing recent AIV H9N2 isolates and vNDV separately and in combination, with the purpose of increasing knowledge on the interactions of these viruses in the host, particularly in regard to virus pathogenicity, immune response to infections and vaccination. Furthermore, novel vaccination strategies against ND will be evaluated, aiming at reducing the infectivity and shedding of virulent viruses during infection in vaccinated flocks. For these purposes, systemic and local immune response to ND infections and vaccination will be investigated as well as the occurrence of vertical transmission of vNDV and the possibility of preventing the spread of infection through eggs and day-old chicks by vaccination. Finally, this project will evaluate existing and novel diagnostic tools for the rapid detection of multiple infections caused by AI and ND as well as for the differentiation of field and vaccine strains and pathotype determination.

Acronym NADIV
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Network ANIHWA
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Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Venezie Coordinator Italy
Kimron Veterinary Institute Israel
Swedish National Veterinary Institute Sweden
Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre Belgium