The AgResults Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Challenge Project is an initiative designed to encourage the development and uptake of an improved FMD vaccine tailored for the needs of Eastern Africa.
The Project is funded by AgResults, a collaborative initiative between the governments of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is designed to encourage pharmaceutical companies around the world to develop, register, and commercialise effective vaccines for the control of FMD in Eastern Africa.
The project will contribute to the cost-per-dose paid to the competing manufacturers, thereby encouraging government and private sector actors to better combat FMD by consistently purchasing high volumes of vaccines at affordable prices. To build a stable market around FMD control, the project will promote the development of a private sector model for buying and distributing vaccines, while enhancing existing public sector control efforts. As the market develops, the project plans to expand access to effective vaccines among smallholder farmers, yielding improvements in livestock health and increases in net income.
The VITAL programme aims to make a significant contribution towards transformational change in the smallholder livestock health landscape by developing a portfolio of high impact products and initiating a range of private sector market initiatives operating at scale in the smallholder sector. These two strands of complementary work, product development and market development constitute the principal activities of VITAL with the broad objectives of:
VITAL, a five year, $50 million BMGF (80%) and DFID (20%) co-funded programme, builds on the work of GALVmed’s previous PLSHL1 and PLSHL2 programmes (similarly co-funded by BMGF and DFID). In progressing this work VITAL reflects key learnings from these programmes and incorporates focus areas in donor strategy. These include:
Underpinning everything in VITAL is a focus on the smallholder, their needs and the products and market processes that can make a material and sustainable difference to their livelihoods. Effective new livestock vaccines on the market and large scale commercial distribution networks selling these and other essential animal health products to tens of millions of smallholders is the long term vision for VITAL. This will become a reality after the VITAL period and once the distribution networks have subsequently expanded and replicated through commercial growth. Within the VITAL period itself, sales of essential vaccines are anticipated to avert approximately $700 million worth of livestock mortalities. By 2022, the VITAL distribution networks will be reaching approximately 6 million smallholders with a portfolio of essential animal health products conferring an estimated $1.42 Billion per annum of economic benefit.
The AgResults Brucellosis Vaccine Prize is a US $30 million global competition, which invites animal health innovators (‘Solvers’) to submit their proposals for – and ultimately develop – a suitable vaccine that is efficacious, safe and viable for use against Brucella melitensis a pathogen causing Brucellosis that particularly affects smallholder farmers in the developing world. The competition is funded by AgResults, a collaborative initiative between the governments of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in an effort to find innovative solutions from the private sector to seemingly intractable development challenges. The competition, which could last up to ten years, will be managed and implemented by the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed).
Animal health, biotech and vaccine companies and other organisations are invited to submit their proposals via the Brucellosis Vaccine Prize Competition website.
Current vaccines are not ideal for use in developing countries, as they do not provide protection across different species of animal hosts, are unsafe for use in pregnant animals, can harm humans, and have variable efficacy. A new vaccine that addresses these shortcomings would deliver lasting benefits to livestock health and improve smallholder farmer livelihoods.
This is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between GALVmed, the Malawi-based Centre for Tick and Tick-Borne Diseases and Arecor Ltd, a UK biotech company that develops novel formulations for the human health medical sector.
This partnership will provide a unique opportunity to translate British technology and expertise from the human health sector into livestock disease control in the developing world context. The programme focuses, on East Coast Fever, which kills over a million cattle per year and has a devastating effect on small-holder cattle production in East, Central and Southern Africa.
An effective vaccine, ECF-ITM, currently exists for the disease but it has a number of important drawbacks that affect its use in the field. This project will trial the use of novel formulations as a replacement for the ECF-ITM vaccine diluent. Success in the project will deliver important ECF-ITM vaccine product enhancements, notably vaccine stability. This will afford far greater mobility and flexibility to ECF vaccinators resulting in many more cattle being able to be effectively immunised.
A programme led by the Chinese Harbin Veterinary Research Institute. Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia is a disease of cattle that continues to afflict substantial losses in Africa, but which has been eradicated in many other parts of the world. In China the disease was eradicated following the use of the BEN-1 vaccine. Under this programme the Chinese developed BEN-1 vaccine is being evaluated for safety and efficacy in African conditions.
A two phase programme of work addressing the lack of disease control tools available to small-scale livestock producers in sub-Saharan Africa. Animal African Trypanosomosis is a parasitic disease that is often fatal to cows, sheep and goats in Africa – causing serious economic losses in African livestock.
The bulk of this work focuses on developing a new generation of therapeutic and prophylactic drugs to overcome issues with developing resistance in the parasite. Work on a vaccine candidate in phase 1 was discontinued following lack of efficacy. The programme will deliver the first practical field diagnostic test and is additionally developing regulatory quality control capabilities in sub-Saharan Africa to combat the burgeoning supply of sub-standard and counterfeit trypanocidal drugs. These sub-standard and counterfeit drugs contribute significantly to resistance development.
Many African countries have their own national laboratories for the production and supply of veterinary vaccines. This programme improved the technical capabilities of eight national laboratories in the production of four key livestock vaccines. Through the provision of improved equipment and associated training in systems and processes a substantially enhanced output in terms of quality and volume was achieved.
A substantial and multi-faceted programme of work separated into two workstreams. The product development workstream focuses on developing 9 to 11 new products (primarily veterinary vaccines but also pharmaceuticals and diagnostics) and various product improvements (such as heat tolerance, production cost reductions, formulations for easy applications etc.).
The market development workstream focuses on developing sustainable access to these products, which is currently centred around Newcastle Disease and East Coast Fever vaccines, as products are becoming available in sustainable quantities.
In direct support of these product and market development elements are a wide range of policy and advocacy issues, for example, facilitating a harmonised veterinary vaccination framework in the East Africa region.