DA drafting guidelines on Avian flu vaccination

By Ferdinand Patinio

August 7, 2023, 7:32 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo by Perla Lena)</em></p>

(PNA file photo by Perla Lena)

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) is currently drafting the guidelines for Avian influenza (AI) vaccination in collaboration with the Philippine College of Poultry Practitioners (PCPP).

In a statement Monday, the DA said it presented this measure before the National Sectoral Committee on Poultry and Livestock (NSC on PL) during a special meeting on Aug. 1, where they discussed updates on the AI and the African swine fever (ASF) vaccines.

It noted that the initial draft was presented in a public consultation among government implementers and representatives from the Food and Drug Administration-Regional Field Offices and other concerned agencies last July 11.

On the other hand, a second public consultation will also be conducted on Tuesday with private sector stakeholders and government officers as the target participants.

Dr. Generoso Rene Romo Jr. of the PCPP said the Philippines is currently facing problems with the AI substrains H5N1 and H5N8.

He also informed the Committee that mutations are possible as a side effect of using non-accredited vaccines.

At the same time, Romo introduced the qualifications they considered for the selection of vaccines.

“First qualification we determined is that it should be homologous in activated vaccines and second is it’s recombinant/platform-based vaccine that has already published cross-protection claims of humoral and cellular immunity,” he added.

For the status of the ASF vaccine, Amanel Manalo of the BAI also reported that they already completed Phase 1 of the trial testing with results showing at least 80 percent of the animals producing antibodies 28 days post-vaccination.

“The nasal swab tests on safety trial animals results are negative and antibodies are reported after 14 days of vaccination. A little over 30 days, the tests turned out negative and there were no deaths among the animals. Upon the slaughter of the animals, we also tested their organs and turned out negative,” he said.

Manalo also reported that they have ongoing trials for Phase 2 in Batangas, Quezon, and Pangasinan which will run until September this year.

Meanwhile, the Committee endorsed a policy resolution to the DA, through BAI, the recommendations from the Retrospective Study on the Epidemiology of African Swine Fever Outbreaks in the Philippines.

The study was commissioned by the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries to the Agricultural Training Institute-International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ATI-ITCPH) to evaluate and identify the risk factors involved with the occurrence and spread of the virus.

It also assessed the effectiveness of the National Zoning Plan and the control measures implemented by the national and local governments for the development of relevant and effective policy recommendations on ASF control and prevention. (PNA)