Canada Helps Fund Research for CWD Vaccine

The Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise Inc. (PREVENT) has received funding of $700,000 from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for the development of a vaccine for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) aimed at controlling the disease in alternative livestock (elk and deer). This augments support of $463,000 from the cost-shared federal and Saskatchewan Growing Forward 2 Agriculture Development Fund.

The vaccine is being evaluated for immunogenicity and efficacy disease-challenge studies in elk by utilizing resources within the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization and the International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) at the University of Saskatchewan. The new containment level 3 facilities enable the work on this vaccine, and potentially others for a number of related misfolded protein diseases of humans and animals.

Chronic Wasting Disease is a progressive, fatal, and incurable prion disease similar to BSE in cattle, scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jacob in humans, which is affecting elk, deer and moose. Elk and deer are important natural resources in their own right with significant economic contributions through farmed animals as well as the export, gaming and outfitter industries. More importantly, these animals are food staples in the diets of Canada's Northern populations and aboriginal communities.

Despite the expenditure of countless millions of dollars fighting CWD across North America, the disease has not been eradicated or contained to any significant extent, and it continues to spread across continental North America. An effective vaccine could control CWD in farmed deer and elk, reducing the potential for cross-species transmission to traditional livestock (i.e. cattle). If the latter were to occur, it would have a significant and serious economic impact on the livestock industry.

"Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has spread rapidly over the last decade. This disease continues to spread within wild cervid populations which has significant implications for rural populations and its presence has also had a negative impact on the alternative livestock industry. We are grateful to the Federal and Provincial governments for the support that they have provided for this initiative" said Dr. Andrew Potter, CEO of PREVENT.

Glenda Elkow, President of the Canadian Cervid Alliance, which represents cervid producer associations including elk, white-tailed deer and reindeer says, "From the very beginnings of PREVENT's ground breaking research to develop a vaccine for CWD we have all been watching (and contributing in any way we can) with great anticipation. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has resulted in substantial losses for the farmed cervid industry. The development of a vaccine for CWD will revitalize our industry because of its ability to provide even greater market assurances beyond our already comprehensive disease monitoring programs. Congratulations PREVENT and a very special Thank-You from our industry to the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan for recognizing (by way of this substantial contribution to this research) how important this initiative is to our industry."

An incorporated not-for-profit organization, PREVENT is a Centre for Commercialization and Research accelerating the development of promising early-stage vaccine candidates to address existing or potential human health issues. PREVENT's founding members include: the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization - International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC-CDC), and the Canadian Center for Vaccinology (CCfV) at Dalhousie University. By partnering with Canadian experts and shouldering the risk of early-stage vaccine development, PREVENT strengthens and advances Canada's vaccine industry, promoting growth and improved global competitiveness.

PREVENT contact information:
Gerald Brown, PhD
Director of Commercialization and Marketing Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise Inc. (PREVENT) 306-966-1506