UK VetVaccNet, SAPHIR, PARAGONE European Veterinary Vaccinology Workshop, Ghent May 2016
PARAGONE partners from University College Dublin attended the European Veterinary Vaccinology Workshop in Ghent. The aim of the workshop was to provide participants with the state –of-the-art in vaccines for veterinary –related diseases, their development and challenges.
The first day Catherine Charreyre gave a very interesting talk, aimed mainly to senior researchers, about the gaps and needs for the development of veterinary vaccines. What are the objectives when developing vaccines for the private company? She explained that the key point lays on how much value an investment or project adds to the firm, as well as the market potential.
Next, Jonathan Rushton presented his work about the reality of vaccine use in the field and socio-economic aspects. This topic created an opportunity for the audience to give their opinion in the socio-economic impact of an animal disease and all the factors that could influence the vaccine development.
After this, Michael Francis presented the new technologies in veterinary vaccine development explaining the features to make an ideal vaccine as well as the challenges that this involves.
Following this, Danny Goovaerts gave an overview regarding the innate immunity in livestock and adjuvants. What is the ideal combination of antigen and adjuvant in a formulation in order to induce a protective immune response?
This and other questions, chaired by Bruno M. Goddeeris, were opened to discussion and promoted interactive and productive debates that connected the audience from different fields.
Finishing off the day, the social event and amazing dinner provided us with the opportunity to develop networks with people working in the same or similar fields.
The second day started off with an attention-grabbing talk conducted by Artur Summerfield about markers of vaccine efficacy, and how this could correlate to protection.
This was very applicable to our work because we are concerned about deciphering the reasons of the variability in vaccine efficacy between trials using the same antigen. He emphasised we should first answer the following question: what does protection really mean? There are many types of markers of protection, such as ELISA titres, avidity and affinity, antibody function and protection based on T cell responses; however, each correlate of protection is valid only for a defined vaccine and a certain pathogen.
Finally, Jacqui Matthews gave a fascinating review about the challenges to develop effective vaccines for multicellular parasites. She explained the problems that these kinds of vaccines have faced in comparison to others (such as bacterial or virus vaccines). The complexity of these pathogens along with the effect they exert on the immune system of their host, are the main challenges in this matter. She reviewed the types of parasite vaccines developed up-to date and some examples that have showed great success.
Through all the talks there was a great discussion with people from different areas such as industry and academia, senior and junior scientists. This workshop provided us with the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from the most experienced Immunology and Vaccinology professionals in Europe.
This workshop has given me a different point of view about the development of veterinary vaccines, because as PhD students, we usually think just about our own team work and sometimes we can’t see the general overall significance of the vaccine development worm nor its economic importance. It was great to hear from all the people that are working together for getting one single goal. To be honest, on one hand I had feelings of lack of knowledges but on the other hand I felt the need to learn more about it and to get new goals that had not been raised before. It was really useful, congratulations! I can only say thanks for this nice course and for the opportunity to meet with fabulous people.
Alejandro Escamilla Sánchez