The PRRS Immunology Group at The Pirbright Institute has been awarded an Impact Acceleration Award of £9,000 to progress a novel vaccine for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), a major threat to the global pig industry.
The grant will support a six-month project led by Dr Rory Fortes de Brito under the mentorship of Dr Simon Graham from The Pirbright Institute and Dr Michael Jarvis from The Vaccine Group (TVG), Plymouth. The project aims to evaluate the immunogenicity of herpesviral vectors designed to induce PRRSV-neutralising antibody responses in mice as a prelude to testing them in pigs.
PRRSV causes severe respiratory and reproductive problems in pigs, leading to significant economic losses and animal welfare issues. Current vaccines based on modified-live or inactivated PRRSV are ineffective and do not protect against diverse strains of the virus. In a previous collaboration with TVG, the PRRS Immunology Group has shown that a bovine herpes virus (BoHV-4) vector expressing PRRSV T cell antigens can reduce lung pathology in pigs after PRRSV challenge but not viral loads. The new project will test BoHV-4 vectors expressing PRRSV glycoproteins, essential for inducing neutralising antibodies.
“We are delighted and grateful to receive this award,” said Dr. Fortes de Brito. “This funding will enable us to test the potential of BoHV-4 vectors to induce both T cell and antibody responses against PRRSV, which are crucial for an effective vaccine. We hope this project will pave the way for further studies in pigs and ultimately lead to a novel, commercially attractive vaccine that can prevent and control PRRS disease.”
Dr. Jarvis from The Vaccine Group added: “I am excited to continue collaborating with Drs Fortes de Brito and Graham at The Pirbright Institute on this project. Our BoHV-4 platform has shown promising results in inducing T-cell responses against various pathogens, including PRRSV. We believe incorporating PRRSV glycoproteins into our vector can enhance their immunogenicity and efficacy as a vaccine candidate.”
The project is part of The Pirbright Institute’s strategic programme on Control of PRRS funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
For more information about the project please contact Dr. Michael Jarvis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or for the PRRS Immunology Group, please contact Dr. Rory Fortes de Brito at email@example.com or visit www.pirbright.ac.uk/research/prrs-immunology-group.