New-generation vaccines: strengthening poultry health and industry standards

May 4, 2024

Poultry farming plays a vital role in meeting the growing demand for animal protein. However, the industry faces major challenges, such as infectious diseases, which threaten poultry health and food safety. Vaccinations are an essential pillar of farm health management, protecting animals against a multitude of diseases and guaranteeing the quality of poultry products. This article provides an update.

Progress in poultry vaccines

Scientific research is constantly revolutionising the field of poultry vaccines. More effective and safer vaccines are being developed against common diseases such as infectious bursal disease, Newcastle disease and avian influenza. These advances are based on innovative technologies such as recombinant and vector vaccines, which offer targeted, long-lasting protection against pathogens.

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Advanced vaccines now enable poultry producers to achieve higher survival rates and better overall flock health leading to increased productivity and reduced economic losses.

Recombinant vaccines: targeted precision

Recombinant vaccines represent a major advance in the fight against poultry diseases. This technology uses genetic engineering techniques to incorporate specific genes from a pathogen into a harmless virus or bacterium. Once injected, this vaccine stimulates the poultry's immune system to produce antibodies against the target virus, offering targeted, long-lasting protection.

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One of the main advantages of recombinant vaccines is their ability to attack specific viral strains, unlike conventional vaccines which offer more general protection. This precision makes it easier to target the pathogens that pose the greatest threat to a given region or farm, optimising the effectiveness of vaccination.

Vector vaccines: multivalent protection

Vector vaccines represent another promising innovation in the field of poultry vaccination. This technology uses a modified virus or bacterium, called a vector, to carry genes from a pathogen into the poultry body. Once the vector is delivered, the genes are expressed and trigger the immune system to produce antibodies against the target disease.

One of the major advantages of vector vaccines is their ability to protect poultry against several diseases simultaneously. A single vector can carry genes for several pathogens, reducing the number of vaccinations required and simplifying poultry health programmes.

Improved efficacy and safety

New-generation vaccines not only offer more targeted and multivalent protection. They also offer significant improvements in terms of efficacy and safety. Modern production techniques make it possible to create purer, more concentrated vaccines. 

This means lower doses are needed to achieve optimum protection. In addition, innovative adjuvants stimulate the immune system to a greater extent, making vaccines more effective and reducing the number of administrations required.

In terms of safety, new-generation vaccines benefit from rigorous quality controls and more precise production processes. These measures ensure that the risks associated with contaminants and side-effects are minimised, thereby contributing to the health and well-being of poultry.

The impact of vaccination on poultry health

Statistical data confirms the remarkable effectiveness of the new vaccines in reducing disease outbreaks and improving the health of poultry flocks. Case studies show a significant reduction in mortality and an increase in productivity in vaccinated animals. 

Vaccination also helps to limit the use of antibiotics, promoting more sustainable, environmentally-friendly food production.

Reducing outbreaks of disease: a bulwark against epizootics

One of the most convincing indicators of the effectiveness of vaccines is their ability to reduce the incidence of disease on farms. Large-scale studies have shown a significant reduction in outbreaks of infectious diseases such as infectious bursal disease, Newcastle disease and avian influenza in vaccinated poultry. 

This significant reduction in outbreaks translates into greater animal protection, improved farm biosecurity and reduced economic losses due to disease.

Improved animal health and welfare

As well as simply preventing disease, vaccination has a direct positive impact on the health and welfare of poultry. Vaccinated animals generally show better growth, greater vitality and reduced morbidity. This translates into reduced expenditure on veterinary care and improved quality of life for the animals.

Increased productivity and profitability

Healthier poultry means more productive poultry. Studies show that vaccination leads to a significant increase in egg-laying rates in laying hens, better feed conversion in broilers and a reduction in mortality on all farms. 

This improvement in productivity translates into higher yields and greater profitability for farmers.

Limiting the use of antibiotics: a step towards more sustainable production

One of the major collateral benefits of vaccination is its contribution to reducing the use of antibiotics in poultry farming. Animals that are healthier and less prone to disease require fewer antibiotic treatments. This reduction in the use of antibiotics benefits both human health, by limiting antibiotic resistance, and the environment, by preserving fragile ecosystems.

Case studies: concrete examples of success

Numerous case studies from around the world illustrate the positive effects of vaccination on poultry health. On a farm in Brazil, vaccination against Newcastle disease led to a 90% reduction in cases of the disease and a 15% increase in egg production. In South Africa, vaccination against avian flu has saved millions of chickens and prevented considerable economic losses.

Vaccination protocols and services

To guarantee optimum results, the companies offer comprehensive vaccination services tailored to the specific needs of each farm. Rigorous protocols define the vaccination schedule and the most appropriate administration techniques, taking into account the age of the animals, their state of health and the local epidemiological risks.

Future trends in poultry vaccination

The future looks bright for poultry vaccination, with major technological advances expected in the coming years. Gene editing and artificial intelligence open up revolutionary prospects for the development of more precise and personalised vaccines, capable of targeting specific viral strains and stimulating more robust immune responses.

Conclusion

Next-generation vaccines are a valuable tool for enhancing poultry health, improving food safety and promoting sustainable poultry production. Continuous innovation and the adoption of new vaccination strategies are essential to meet the challenges facing the industry and the growing needs of a rapidly expanding world population.