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Developing East Coast fever vaccine

Date:
October 4, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
A vaccine that protects cattle against East Coast fever, a destructive disease in eastern and central Africa, is being developed.

Scientists from ARS and the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, are developing a vaccine for East Coast fever, a major cattle problem in Africa, which may help lead to a vaccine for the related Texas cattle fever.
Credit: USDA

A vaccine that protects cattle against East Coast fever, a destructive disease in eastern and central Africa, is being developed by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya.

Entomologist Glen Scoles, veterinary medical officer Massaro Ueti and research leader Don Knowles at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Animal Disease Research Unit (ADRU) in Pullman, Wash., have been working on the collaborative project for more than five years. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency. This research, which looks at combination vaccines for tick-borne diseases, supports USDA's priority of promoting international food security.

Scientists are focusing on the tick that transmits the parasite responsible for East Coast fever, according to Scoles. Because the tick and parasite are similar to the tick and parasite that cause Texas cattle fever in the United States, developing a vaccine for East Coast fever could lead to a vaccine for Texas cattle fever.

In an initial study, scientists developed a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that detects parasite DNA in ticks. They used tick populations that were produced at ILRI to have different susceptibilities. Two different strains of ticks- Muguga and Kiambu- were compared. The Muguga ticks had a low level of parasitic infection, whereas the Kiambu ticks were highly susceptible.

Understanding genetic differences between these two tick populations could lead to the identification of proteins that might be good targets for a vaccine to help control East Coast fever, according to Scoles.

The international partnership demonstrates a global community effort to control diseases that limit food and fiber production, according to Knowles. Although East Coast fever isn't currently a problem in the United States, this collaborative research aids in keeping it free of the disease and reducing future risk in other countries. Results of this collaborative research also may be applied to help control other similar parasitic diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Sandra Avant. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jack D. Sunter, Sonal P. Patel, Robert A. Skilton, Naftaly Githaka, Donald P. Knowles, Glen A. Scoles, Vishvanath Nene, Etienne de Villiers, Richard P. Bishop. A novel SINE family occurs frequently in both genomic DNA and transcribed sequences in ixodid ticks of the arthropod sub-phylum Chelicerata. Gene, 2008; 415 (1-2): 13 DOI: 10.1016/j.gene.2008.01.026

Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Developing East Coast fever vaccine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004162323.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, October 4). Developing East Coast fever vaccine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004162323.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Developing East Coast fever vaccine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004162323.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

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