Establishing a Robust Manufacturing Platform for Recombinant Veterinary Vaccines: An Adenovirus-Vector Vaccine to Control Newcastle Disease Virus Infections of Poultry in Sub-Saharan Africa


Developing vaccine technology platforms to respond to pandemic threats or zoonotic diseases is a worldwide high priority. The risk of infectious diseases transmitted from wildlife and domestic animals to humans makes veterinary vaccination and animal health monitoring highly relevant for the deployment of public health global policies in the context of “one world, one health” principles. Sub-Saharan Africa is frequently impacted by outbreaks of poultry diseases such as avian influenza and Newcastle Disease (ND). Here, an adenovirus-vectored vaccine technology platform is proposed for rapid adaptation to ND or other avian viral threats in the region. Ethiopian isolates of the Newcastle Disease virus (NDV) were subjected to sequence and phylogenetic analyses, enabling the construction of antigenically matched vaccine candidates expressing the fusion (F) and hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) proteins. A cost-effective vaccine production process was developed using HEK293 cells in suspension and serum-free medium. Productive infection in bioreactors (1–3 L) at 2 × 106 cells/mL resulted in consistent infectious adenoviral vector titers of approximately 5–6 × 108 TCID50/mL (approximately 1011VP/mL) in the harvest lysates. Groups of chickens were twice immunized with 1 × 1010 TCID50 of the vectors, and full protection against a lethal NDV challenge was provided by the vector expressing the F antigen. These results consolidate the basis for a streamlined and scalable-vectored vaccine manufacturing process for deployment in low- and medium-income countries.