A Wisconsin Researcher’s On It

Wisconsin’s witnessing more and more backyard flocks of poultry falling victim to avian influenza. Is there anything in development to possibly vaccinate birds against the deadly ailment? The short answer is – yes.

A researcher at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine is looking for answers on how we can protect birds. Unfortunately, unlike human medicine, this kind of research receives little attention and even less support funding. Stephanie Hoff talked with Adel Talaat, a professor of pathobiological sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine. He’s in the process of developing a vaccine that would offer domestic birds protection from current and future strains of the virus that emerge over time. But it’s not an easy process.

Talaat says that just like the Covid-19 virus, the avian influenza strains change over time. That means coming up with one answer for all is very difficult. Right now, Talaat envisions a nanovaccine that could be used across an entire flock. That’s critical for commercial producers. Any vaccine that might be available now isn’t feasible for large applications.

Talaat says he’ll continue to pursue answers for the poultry industry since avian influenza is appearing more often, and on a wider scale.