The One Health concept describes the relationship between human health, animal health and the environment, and recognizes how the interplay in this triad have led to the emergence and re-emergence of many diseases. Since 75% of known diseases are of animal origin and 60% of these affect humans, it is vital to combat animal pathogens to prevent zoonoses and sustain both animal and human health. It is for this reason that Afrigen serves both human- and veterinary vaccine developers. For veterinary vaccines, our core focus is on livestock zoonotic diseases and livestock diseases with high morbidity and mortality rates.
In veterinary vaccine development, there is a trade-off between immunogenicity,safety and affordability. Veterinary vaccine developers are now increasingly using the same recombinant technologies used in human vaccine development and also therefore require more potent adjuvants. The benefits of next-generation adjuvants have extensively been demonstrated commercialised human vaccines and there has been an increase in the use of these adjuvant technologies in veterinary vaccine research. The most attractive benefits of using next-generation adjuvants to veterinary vaccine developers are the antigen-sparing effects, and that some of these adjuvants are capable of inducing cellular immune responses that can clear intracellular pathogens.
There is no clear universal adjuvant system for animal diseases, and they must be adapted according to the target host species. Each case needs to be investigated individually, as several factors need to be considered to decide which adjuvant formulation to use. For this purpose, different formulations and/or emulsions have been developed.
Afrigen has partnered with Afrivet to develop vaccines against some of Africa’s most serious livestock diseases. We are also working with other collaborators on a range of projects that aim to improve either existing or newly developed veterinary vaccines in multiple hosts, including sheep, cattle, chicken and horses. We are working on vaccines against viral, bacterial and parasitic infections
Next-generation adjuvants may also be used as a stand-alone product, for stimulation of the immune system in a non-specific manner. This may be used at times of perceived stressful events or when animals are at risk of infection. This is sometimes referred to as host-directed therapy and has been shown to reduce the symptoms associated with certain livestock diseases and decreased the need for antibiotics. Afrigen is currently developing immunomodulators to boost the host’s immune response in companion animals.