Poultry industry can learn from COVID-19

Jackwood said COVID-19 is becoming more like flu, with seasonal variants that pop up.
calendar icon 13 June 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Biosecurity is not sufficient to control avian coronaviruses like infectious bronchitis in commercial poultry, no matter how good it is, said Mark Jackwood, PhD, a molecular virologist and professor of avian medicine at the University of Georgia.

“It takes a combination of vaccination as well as biosecurity in order to effectively control the disease,” he told Poultry Health Today.

The same is holding true for COVID-19 in people, he said. It became evident that wearing masks and practicing social distancing was not enough.

“The virus continued to spread. And then, when we started to vaccinate, we saw the number of cases go down,” he added.

View the full interview here

Seasonal variants

Jackwood said COVID-19 is becoming more like flu, with seasonal variants that pop up. Humans will likely need to get a COVID shot along with a flu shot in the foreseeable future.

“A universal vaccine against the avian coronaviruses would be outstanding if we could make it work,” Jackwood said. “We’ve tried several different approaches, but based on our findings, we haven’t been able to get a universal vaccine. It’s going to take some new technology.”

Vaccine potential for chickens

Jackwood was surprised at the effectiveness of the messenger RNA vaccines.

“We tried using nucleic-acid vaccines in poultry, and we got partial protection when we did those experiments, but the results were not nearly as good as the protection that we see with the messenger RNA vaccines in humans. I’m very thankful that they actually did work as well as they did — that’s great for us.”

Poultry Health Today

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