Animal Vaccine | Esco VacciXcell

The Importance of Animal Vaccines for Human and Animal Life

Diseases can spread like wildfire amongst animals, especially between farming ones. The spread of diseases causes not only deaths among these animals but also reduced fertility and/or behavioral changes, which may cause breeding problems.

Apart from deaths and reduced number of the animals themselves, animal diseases incur a number of grave losses, including revenue losses due to decreased production levels and consumer confidence and losses due to mitigation and control costs from immunizations and drugs.

Animal Diseases and Zoonosis

Animal diseases can threaten humans, as zoonotic transmission is among the common routes of disease transmissions. It’s been found that about 60% of animal diseases are zoonotic. Examples of zoonosis are:

  • Rabies virus, which is transmitted from rabid dogs, cats, and other animals to humans through bites and scratches. Over 50,000 people die each year from rabies infections. 
  • MERS-Cov virus in the Middle East and South Korea. The coronavirus responsible for the disease can be transmitted from infected camels to humans and since the first case in 2012, over 500 people have died of MERS-Cov.

Animal Vaccination

Animal vaccination is the immunization of a domestic, livestock or wild animal. The practice is connected to veterinary medicine. The first animal vaccine invented was for chicken cholera in 1879 by Louis Pasteur. The production of such vaccines encounter issues in relation to the economic difficulties of individuals, the government and companies. Regulation of animal vaccinations is less compared to the regulations of human vaccinations. Vaccines are categorized into conventional and next generation vaccines. Animal vaccines have been found to be the most cost effective and sustainable methods of controlling infectious veterinary diseases. In 2017, the veterinary vaccine industry was valued at US$7 billion, and it is predicted to reach US$9 billion in 2024.

There are three types of animal vaccine or veterinary vaccines that can be the option for resolving infection, such as non living vaccines for animals, modified live vaccines for animals and recombinant. Some kinds of animal vaccines are tetanus vaccine, avian influenza virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, rabies virus in dogs and cats,  and so on.

Some solutions for maintaining zoonosis have been done. The spread of diseases among farm animals can be greatly reduced through improved farming practices and better sanitation in farms, alongside proper immunization and vitamin feeds. As for zoonotic diseases, production costs of animal vaccines are much less, compared to those for human vaccines; hence, an inexpensive way to halt or reduce their rapid spread is through the immunization of the animals themselves.

Vaccines to control zoonotic diseases

Vaccines to control zoonotic diseases in food animals, companion animals, and even wildlife have had a major impact on reducing the incidence of zoonotic diseases in people (Table 1). Without rabies vaccines, it is unlikely that families would be willing to keep cats and dogs as pets. Recombinant vaccinia-vectored rabies vaccines have also been used successfully in baits for oral vaccination campaigns to reduce the incidence of rabies in wild animals. Vaccines for Brucellosis were instrumental in the Brucella abortus eradication program in the United States. Many countries have severe problems with Brucellosis in cattle, small ruminants, and people due to a lack of available Brucella vaccines for animals.

Table 1. Veterinary vaccines for the following zoonotic diseases have been, or could be, used to control infections in animals, thereby reducing transmission of the infectious agent to people

Rift Valley fever
Nipah and Hendra
Japanese encephalitis
Q fever

Vaccine for safe and efficient food production 

The importance of veterinary vaccines includes; safe and efficient food production and control of emerging and exotic diseases of animals and people. Veterinary vaccines are used in livestock and poultry to maintain animal health and to improve overall production. More efficient animal production and better access to high-quality protein are essential to feed the growing population. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, the world population was approximately 6.9 billion in 2010, and is estimated to increase to just over 8 billion in 2025 and to reach 9.1 billion people in 2050. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 1.02 billion people were undernourished in 2009, in both developed and developing countries. There have been dramatic increases in world meat and egg production between 1961 and 2007. An FAO High-Level Expert Forum reported in September 2009 that in order to feed a projected world population of 9.1 billion people, the overall food production will need to increase by 70% between 2005/07 to 2050. Vaccines that preserve animal health and improve production are important components in meeting this need.

Vaccine for control of emerging and exotic diseases of animals and people

Emerging and exotic animal diseases are a growing threat to human and animal health and jeopardize food security (Figure 1.). Increases in human and animal populations, with accompanying environmental degradation and globalized trade and travel, enhance opportunities for transfer of pathogens within and between species. The resulting diseases pose enormous challenges now and for the future. In most of the world, increased demand for animal protein has resulted in intensified commercial food animal production and/or expanded backyard production. Both types of production present unique challenges for disease emergence and control. Emerging zoonotic diseases of both food and companion animals are a major threat to public health. It is inevitable that the world will continue to experience emerging disease outbreaks in the coming decades. Rapid development of animal vaccines can play a key role in controlling emerging diseases.

Figure 1. Emerging and re-emerging diseases affecting companion animal and food animal species. (Reprinted with permission from: Roth, J. A., Galyon, J., Stumbaugh, A. Causes and Consequences of Emerging and Exotic Diseases of Animals: Role of the Veterinarian. In Emerging and Exotic Diseases of Animals, 4th Edition, 2010, Rovid-Spickler, A., Roth, J.A., Galyon, J., Lofstedt, J. Editors. Center for Food Security and Public Health, Ames, IA. USA.

Research and development of animal vaccine

Even though many diseases are successfully controlled with vaccination, despite best efforts, effective vaccines can sometimes prove technically very difficult to develop. This is due to the complex nature of vaccine development and the inherent characteristics of some pathogens. Ongoing investment in research and development aims to tackle these challenges and make available more vaccines to maintain animal health and welfare. Indeed, vaccines are often updated to include and protect against new strains as diseases evolve. The challenge in developing new vaccines reminds us that vaccines are part of a wider range of animal medicines – that together protect and treat our companion and farm animals.

Research and innovation has also resulted in the development of novel and more sophisticated technologies such as marker vaccines. Typically, when animals are vaccinated they produce an immune response that resembles that of a natural infection. It can then be difficult when testing animals to determine if they have been naturally infected or if they have been vaccinated. An example is the farm animal marker vaccine for Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) – a highly contagious respiratory disease in cattle.

Irrespective of the type of vaccine used, an animal should be in good health at the time of vaccination – as a properly functioning immune system is needed to stimulate a good immune response and develop an effective level of protection. Initially, a primary vaccination course should be completed and depending on the vaccine type and the species of animal, it may be necessary to follow up with booster vaccinations at intervals based on veterinary advice and the characteristics of the vaccine, to maintain protective immunity throughout the animals’ lifetime.

Esco VacciXcell can provide turnkey solutions for the animal vaccine with cell culture based industry, beginning from research and development of vaccine candidates, all the way to the production scale of the end product.