Africa is experiencing reoccurrence of avian influenza outbreaks with huge negative impact on the economy of the continent as a result of high mortality rate and extreme contagiousness of the disease. The epidemiology of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Africa during the 2006-2008 outbreaks was complex and linked to movements of poultry commodities and wild birds. The peculiar risk factors, negative economic impact and the potential of being used as a biological weapon necessitates the development of a comprehensive control programme for the prevention or eradication of the disease. It is the opinion of this paper that development of new influenza vaccine technologies will provide affordable comprehensive control programmes for avian influenza prevention in Africa. To keep pace with the variability of the viruses, there is need for frequent redesign of avian influenza (AI) vaccines to match the circulating subtypes and on this is predicated the necessity of the development of influenza vaccine technology for a country, zone or region. The new vaccine technologies have been shown to have the potentials of giving vaccines with required criteria of purity, safety, efficacy, potency, low cost and short response time. The concept of most new vaccine technologies is biased towards removal of influenza virus from the system of vaccine development and at the same time obtaining more effective, potent and safe influenza vaccines. The new influenza vaccine technologies include gene-based, genomics-based, subunit, plant-based, VLPs and universal vaccine technologies. These technologies have the potential to provide vaccines that will not just be used as intervention strategies to lessen severity of the disease but as preventative vaccination. Also routine vaccination will not just be as a tool of last option in disease endemic areas, but one to prevent the disease.
Key words: Technologies, avian influenza, vaccine, eradication, prevention, comprehensive, control, programme.
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