Release date: 24 May 2017
EDINBURGH, UK, May 24, 2017 – Small ruminant experts attending this month’s International Sheep Veterinary Congress in Harrogate are being encouraged to enter a US $30 million prize competition to develop a brucellosis vaccine to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in developing countries.
The Brucellosis Vaccine Prize is the first of its kind in the animal health sector and invites vaccine developers to submit proposals for, and ultimately develop, a vaccine that is efficacious, safe and viable for use against Brucella melitensis in sheep and goats 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. The competition implementation is managed by the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed).
Jeremy Salt, Chief Scientific Officer at GALVmed, will invite delegates at the International Sheep Veterinary Congress to submit their applications.
“We are reaching the halfway point of Phase 1 of the competition – which offers an opportunity for up to 10 applicants to win Milestone 1 prizes of US $100,000,” he said.
“Given the expertise of delegates attending the congress, there is a lot of knowledge in respect of sheep health, and hopefully a desire and capability to develop the vaccine we’re looking for.”
Dr Salt said in the developing world, where GALVmed’s activities are centred, small ruminant health and productivity is critical to success and viability for smallholder farmers, yet investment in meeting the animal health needs of small ruminants hardly appears on the research and development agenda of animal health companies. That includes diseases such as brucellosis, and also Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) – a contagious disease also affecting small ruminants.
“A focus on small ruminant products is unlikely to be central to the strategies of the larger companies for the foreseeable future. However, there are some reasons to feel encouraged, with an increasing focus on how PPR may be eradicated regionally and, eventually, globally,” he said.
During ISVC 2017 Dr Salt is presenting an update on GALVmed’s work to address the challenges associated with delivery of a PPR vaccine. It includes partnering with research organisations and biotech companies to develop vaccines that are potentially thermotolerant, while allowing identification and separation of infected and vaccinated animals. The initial research working towards these aspirations seems promising, according to Dr Salt.
“PPR control is not the only bright spot on the horizon for small ruminant disease control. We believe the recently launched Brucellosis Vaccine Prize will also deliver significant advances in research and ultimately, a new vaccine. This prize and incentivisation model, being tested for the first time in animal health, has been used with some success in other areas, particularly in crop production.”
Applications for the first phase of the brucellosis competition – for which there are 10 prizes of US $100,000 – must be received by November 18, 2017. Potential ‘Solvers’ are invited to submit their applications at www.brucellosisvaccine.org. Details and competition rules are also available on the website.
AgResults is a US $118 million multilateral initiative between the governments of Australia, Canada, the UK and US and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to incentivize and reward high-impact agricultural innovations that promote global food security, health, and nutrition and benefit smallholder farmers. AgResults originated at the June 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto, where leaders committed to exploring innovative results-focussed methods of harnessing private sector innovations in food security and improving productivity in developing countries. The initiative is currently running six pilots in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, Vietnam, and one globally. Visit http://agresults.org/
GALVmed, through its partners, makes livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics accessible and available to the millions of smallholder livestock and poultry keepers in developing countries for whom livestock is a lifeline. The international not-for-profit company harnesses the best available expertise and capabilities to develop vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for neglected livestock diseases impacting smallholders in Africa and South Asia. GALVmed is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Government. For more information, please visit www.galvmed.org
Notes to editors
For further press information on AgResults, please contact: Blythe Nicole Kladney, Communications Manager | AgResults Global Secretariat, Tel/Direct: +1 202 802 0654. Email: email@example.com
For further press information on GALVmed, please contact: Gwynneth Clay, Project Manager, Brucellosis Vaccine Initiative. Tel: +44 (0)1314 456 264 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org