K-State set to become leader in animal vaccine research with new Center

Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 8:24 AM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas State University is set to become a leader in animal vaccine research with a new center focused on development and usage.

Kansas State University says that on Thursday, July 6, its College of Veterinary Medicine announced the launch of the new Center on Vaccine Evaluation and Alternatives for Antimicrobials - CVEAA - to support the development and usage of animal vaccines.

K-State noted that Jishu Shi, professor of vaccine immunology and a leading researcher on infectious swine diseases, will serve as the director and one of three primary faculty members.

The University indicated that the center will provide services to global partners and customers through safety and efficacy evaluations of vaccines for transboundary animal disease, aid vaccine buyers in product specification and quality evaluation and lead feasibility analysis and policy advocacy on vaccines as alternatives for antimicrobials.

“The Center on Vaccine Evaluation and Alternatives for Antimicrobials is a research and service center designed to meet a series of unmet needs in the development and usage of animal vaccines around the world,” Shi said.

Along with research projects supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Homeland Security, K-State said the center will work with animal health industry partners in:

  • Safety and efficacy testing of experimental vaccines for African swine fever, classical swine fever and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.
  • Co-development of novel adjuvants for animal vaccines.
  • Evaluations of diagnostic tools for swine infectious diseases, novel antiviral compounds against swine viral pathogens, and novel disinfectants against African swine fever virus and other swine viral pathogens.

“Dr. Shi’s research expertise in helping control the spread of African swine fever and his experience in building coalitions between a wide variety of partners in private industry and government agencies makes him uniquely qualified to lead this new center,” said Bonnie Rush, Hodes family dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “He has already assembled an impressive team of research scientists who will serve on an advisory board for the center, and he has identified several opportunities for collaboration in the short time since the center was established.”

Along with Shi, K-State noted that primary faculty members will include Lihua Wang, research assistant professor of virology and vaccine immunology, and Rachel Madera, senior research scientist in anatomy and physiology. Collaborating principal investigators will include Jianfa Bai, Santosh Dhakal, Natasha N. Gaudreault, Tae Kim, Waithaka Mwangi, Roman M. Pogranichniy, Jürgen A. Richt and Dana L. Vanlandingham.

“The need to evaluate safety and efficacy of experimental vaccines for high-consequence transboundary animal diseases has increased significantly since 2018, but the availability of suitable high-level biosecurity research facilities and associated expertise in public and private domains is very limited,” Shi said. “Vaccines for transboundary animal diseases are frequently procured by international aid agencies. However, these agencies have very limited resources on ‘fit for purpose’ analysis and quality evaluation of the vaccines before they are purchased.”

According to Shi, the ‘One Health’ initiative has faced multiple challenges - including efficacy, availability and affordability of current commercial bacterial vaccines.

“New policies and public-private partnerships are needed to accelerate targeted research and development of new vaccines to improve animal health and reduce antibiotic consumption and antimicrobial resistance risks,” Shi said.

K-State noted that the ‘One Health’ initiative promotes vaccines as alternatives to antibiotics in food animal production practice.