China Gets The Go Ahead To Use Recombinant Interferon Against Bird Flu

Chinese scientists can now use recombinant chicken α-interferon to prevent and treat avian influenza infection.

AsianScientist (Nov. 22, 2017) – Chinese scientists have received approval to use chicken α-interferon, a naturally occurring immune stimulant, in the prevention and treatment of avian influenza in poultry.

The rapid development of poultry farming poses challenges to the prevention and control of infectious diseases. In particular, the outbreak of some viral infectious diseases, especially avian influenza, can result in serious economic losses.

Currently, vaccines are used to prevent infection in birds reared as livestock. However, this approach frequently fails due to the variability of influenza strains. New methods for the prevention, treatment and diagnosis of avian influenza are required.

Professor Liu Wenjun’s lab at the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with Qingdao Vland Biological Products Co. Ltd. and Qingdao National Animal Protection Engineering Technology Research Center Co. Ltd., have received approval to use chicken α-interferon in the prevention and treatment of avian influenza infection in poultry. Interferon plays an important role in the early stage of viral infection by improving the immune function of the organism and inducing the body to produce a variety of antiviral proteins.

The chicken α-interferon gene was introduced into Escherichia coli to produce recombinant chicken α-interferon protein. The protein was then purified and added to the drinking water of poultry.

Poultry receiving the recombinant chicken α-interferon protein were protected against the H9 subtype of avian influenza, suggesting that the protein retained its activity in vivo. Compared with traditional drugs, interferon is fast-acting, does not cause resistance and has few side effects, making it ideal in the long term management of avian influenza.


Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences; Photo: Shutterstock.
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