The Vaccine biosciences program hosts ILRI's Vaccine Platform (ILVAC). Its goal is to build a hub of research excellence at ILRI dedicated to developing vaccine-based solutions to reduce disease burdens that limit livestock productivity in smallholder and pastoral farming systems among others. The initiative will work to develop new vaccines and diagnostic reagents using modern biotechnology and/or make innovative improvements to existing ones, which are often sub-optimal in nature. Many paradigm shifts in biomedical research have occurred underpinned by whole genome sequence information, high throughput screening methods and relational databases that permit a systems approach to vaccine and diagnostics development and to accelerate the pace of translational research.
To meet its objectives and achieve impact in the discovery to delivery pathway the ILRI vaccine group works with the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, other groups in the ILRI Biosciences and Integrated Sciences directorates and will form external partnerships with different expertise in the academic, public, private and development sectors. Capacity development to undertake early phase research in the discovery to product continuum will be an important component of the initiative.
The group will initially focus on vaccines against a limited set of high priority diseases namely, African swine fever (ASF), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), East Coast fever (ECF), peste de petits ruminants (PPR) and Rift Valley fever (RVF). Generic skill sets within the group will allow the ability to tackle other disease constraints.
To ensure prioritization and relevance of its research the vaccine group will interact with groups who assess livestock health and disease constraints, the socio-economic impacts of diseases including consideration of policy, gender and poverty issues and the delivery of animal health services.