SAPHIR: an International and Multidisciplinary Approach to Developing New Vaccines for Livestock

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SAPHIR is a project coordinated by INRA and selected by the European Commission for its Horizon 2020 programme. Participants launched the project with a seminar held on 11-13 May 2015 at INRA’s Jouy-en-Josas site. SAPHIR aims at developing innovative vaccination strategies against the pathogens responsible for major economic losses in cattle, pig and poultry farming. The project is the first of its kind to involve top-notch scientists from different disciplines (including pathologists, geneticists, microbiologists, sociologists, economists and mathematicians) in various public and private partnerships financed by Europe and China, using an integrated approach.

SAPHIR, which stands for “Strengthening Animal Production and Health through Immune Response”, was selected by the European Commission for its Horizon 2020 research programme (and as a proposal to support Sustainable Food Security as part of its Societal Challenges pillar). It aims at developing vaccination strategies against the endemic pathogens responsible for major economic losses in cattle, pig and poultry farming. Participating in the four-year project are 14 research institutes, 5 SME and a pharmaceutical lab from 11 European countries and China. The project has a €10.7 million budget, with €9 million provided by the Commission and €1.7 million by the Swiss government.

SAPHIR objectives and expected developments

Scientific goals: decipher the mechanisms of immune protection and pathogen invasion; understand the impact of age and host genetics, optimize adjuvant and formulation for rapid, widespread and long-term immunity; induce mucosal immunity.

Technological goals: develop high-tech engineered vaccines that are safe and permit epidemiological monitoring; develop efficient and convenient delivery methods; identify markers of immunocompetence for subsequent breeding of stronger animals.

Socio-economic goals: understand the socio-economic factors that influence the use and acceptability of vaccines by professionals and share information about integrated strategies for livestock health with stakeholders.

Scientists participating in the project are looking at two representative pathologies from each sector for which there is no existing or efficient vaccine available:
For cattle: Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Mycoplasma bovis,
For pigs: Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome Virus and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae,
For poultry: Eimeria species and Clostridium perfringens.
For more information, visit: http://www.h2020-saphir.eu/

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