Researchers develop new vaccine for ILT

Infectious Laryngotracheitis is a viral disease most commonly found in chickens, but is also seen in other fowl. In broilers, the vast majority of outbreaks occur in flocks over 45 days of age, but the disease has been diagnosed in flocks of a younger age.
The virus has an incubation period of 6-12 days. Different pathotypes have differing pathogenicity.
Morbidity is 90-100%. Mortality ranges from 5-70% (average 10-20%).
In layers there is a drop in egg production. Early sign is watery eyes, followed by nasal discharge, gasping, tracheal rales and stretching necks. Slinging away the blood from the nose causes blood stains to be seen along the sides of the walls.
Swiss scientists have made a breakthrough in developing a new vaccine to combat infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) in poultry.

Until now, the vaccine for ILT has been a live attenuated one, which means that although it is effective, in some cases virus particles mutate and can cause disease.

Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a new virus that does not pose this risk. Instead of using a weakened virus, the vaccine uses virus-like particles that the immune system can recognise but won’t cause the disease.

Dr Nina Wolfrum, who is part of the research group that developed the vaccine, then tested how effective the vaccine is when compared to the current, live attenuated vaccine. The findings showed that the new vaccine is safe and produces no obvious side-effects.

The research also showed that this new vaccine does produce an immune response against ILT infection, although further research is needed.

In the future, the vaccine could be useful in preventing ILT in poultry flocks, improving animal welfare and reducing economic losses.

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