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New approaches for designing effective vaccines against emerging virulent strains of Marek`s disease virus - OD0711

Marek's disease virus, which 30 years ago was responsible for more than 50% mortality of commercial chickens, is re-emerging as a serious problem for the poultry industry. This project aims to provide the knowledge necesary for design of effective vaccines against the "very virulent" strains of MDV which are currently appearing in the UK, in the rest of Europe and elsewhere.

This works extends the previous (OD0707) which determined the sequences of class 1 molecules from the chicken major histocompatobility complex (MHC) and established their relative importance for resistance to MDV. This proposal involves the use of that information to identify the important antigenic sites derived from various strains of MDV that are bound by these MHC class 1 molecules, to develop reagents and methodologies for analysis of the specific immune responses of chicken T cells, to identify the important antigenic sites recognised by cytolytic T cells in the course of infection by various strains of MDV and as a result of vaccination, and to examine the effectiveness of such antigenic sites for use as defined molecuar vaccines.

This work will a)identify the antigenic sites from various strains of MDV that are directly applicable to the construction of defined molecular vaccines, b) lead to improved welfare of poultry by reducing mortality and morbidity from MArke's disease, c) lead to wealth creation by reduction of economic losses from Marek's disease, and d) maintain the base of expertise for work with MDV and other oncogenic viruses that are in a position to jump species barriers in the food chain.

Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1998

To: 2002

Cost: £103,100
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Institute for Animal Health (BBSRC)
Animal Diseases              
Animal Health              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Animal Health