European project gets immune response funding

A consortium of European animal health partners has received €9 million ($10 million) from the European Commission to develop vaccine strategies against endemic pathogens responsible for high economic losses in livestock.

The four-year funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 project was awarded to SAPHIR (Strengthening Animal Production and Health through the Immune Response).

SAPHIR consists of 14 academic partners, five small-medium enterprises and French company Virbac. Other partners include Cardiff University, Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute – Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Pirbright Institute, the UK’s Royal Veterinary College, Universitaet Bern, Universite de Lausanne, Universiteit Gent, University of Edinburgh and Norwegian firm Vaccibody, amongst others.

Isabelle Schwartz-Cornil, coordinator of the project, and Marie-Hélène Pinard, deputy coordinator, work at France’s Institute National de la Recherche Agronomique, Speaking at the R&D Dating for Animal health event in Strasbourg, Ms Pinard said SAPHIR aims to develop vaccines with a minimum Technology Readiness Level of three (out of 10).

Vaccines being developed by the consortium target are for: porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus; M hyopneumoniae in pigs; Eimeria and C perfringens in chickens; as well as M bovis and bovine respiratory syncytial virus in cattle.