Home News General 2014 William Hunting Award honours development of a low-cost, heat-stable Newcastle Disease vaccine tablet
(29th October 2014) The 2014 William Hunting award was recently presented to a cadre of scientists for their crucial work in developing a low-cost, heat-stable vaccine tablet formulation for Newcastle disease, one of the biggest threats to rural poultry globally.

The peer-reviewed Veterinary Record journal of the British Veterinary Association presents the Hunting Award annually to a research paper considered to have made the most useful contributions to veterinary science that year.

The award-winning paper, “Development of a Low-Dose Fast-Dissolving Tablet Formulation of Newcastle Disease Vaccine for Low-Cost Backyard Poultry Immunisation”, for which Dr. Manjari Lal of PATH served as lead author, was a collaboration with GALVmed, PATH, the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory of the United States Department of Agriculture and the University of Washington.

Peter Jeffries, CEO of GALVmed said:

“GALVmed is delighted for Dr Manjari Lal and her team who won this prestigious award and we welcomed the opportunity for GALVmed to be part of a successful collaboration with PATH, the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture and the University of Washington.  This low-cost vaccine tablet for Newcastle disease could have a massive boost to poultry keepers’ quality of life throughout the world. We are currently seeking potential manufacturers who are interested in making this vaccine a reality for backyard poultry farmers in Africa and South Asia.”

The paper considered the problem faced by backyard poultry keepers in low income countries, where the cost of vaccination for small numbers of chickens and the lack of a viable cold chain make protecting their animals against Newcastle disease difficult.

Newcastle disease is highly contagious and considered one of the most severe poultry diseases worldwide.

Dr Lal and her team at PATH developed a heat-stable fast-dissolving tablet of the Newcastle disease vaccine. The researchers used a freeze-dried virus strain to produce tablets, which were found to be stable for at least six months, and a challenge study demonstrated 100 per cent protection in the vaccinated chickens.

“Vaccines and essential medicines take up a lot of space. They involve many packaging and delivery parts, especially if they need to be refrigerated and/or reconstituted with a diluent prior to administration with a needle and syringe. By simplifying the equation, for example, by formulating Newcastle disease vaccine as smaller dose, needle-free and heat-stable tablets that can be easily dissolved in water, we believe we can reduce the need for temperature-controlled storage and as a result help to expand access and use of the vaccine in low-resource settings,” explains Dr Lal, Technical Officer at PATH an international non-profit organisation transforming global health through innovation.


Notes to the editor:

1)      GALVmed (the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines): Around 900 million people living in poverty rely on their livestock for daily needs.  When disease strikes, the loss of livestock or reduced production impacts food security and nutrition, the provision of education, basic healthcare and limits choice and opportunity.

2)      GALVmed is a not-for-profit livestock health product development & adoption partnership organisation.  It is working with and through partners to make livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics accessible to the millions for whom livestock is a lifeline.

3)      For more information, please visit www.galvmed.org

4)      Left photo: Dr Manjari Lal. Credit: PATH/Scott Areman ; Right photo: Dr Lal of PATH led a team to develop a fast-dissolving tablet formulation for Newcastle disease vaccine. Credit: PATH/Patrick McKern.

For GALVmed media enquiries, please contact Heather Irish: heather.irish@galvmed.org or 0131 445 6299.