Animal research

Animal Research Produces New Valley Fever Vaccine For Dogs – Speaking of Research

November 17e 2021

Allyson J. Bennett & Jeremy D. Bailoo

Imagine that your pet dog has contracted an infection which caused him fatigue, fever, joint pain and muscle pain. And then imagine that a vaccine was available to make sure that your pet – or your children, your parents, members of your community, even yourself – did not contract the infection that caused this suffering. You could easily promote the vaccine without asking where it came from and what research made it possible. You might ask if this works. You may wonder if it is safe, or if it has any side effects and what the effects are. But what if you ask if research and animal testing was used to produce the vaccine? What you might learn is that yes, research and animal testing has been used to understand the infection, produce the vaccine, and test if it works and if it is safe.

Wait, is animal research and testing benefiting my dog ​​(or cat, or hamster)?

In fact, animal research and animal testing are among the breakthroughs that help combat threats to human health. and other animals. This is because humans and other animals can be affected by many of the same diseases and are similar in many of their bodily systems. Want to learn more about the diseases that humans and other animals share? You can do it at this Foundation for Biomedical Research website and also learn Following on how dogs and cats benefit from animal research. From Animal Research Info’s website you can research diseases and animal types to learn about the many advances in veterinary medicine resulting from animal research and testing.

The essential role of animal research and testing in advancing animal health benefits is no secret. It is recognized in the statements of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). What do they to say?

“While most people are aware that there are many human medical discoveries resulting from laboratory animal research, there are also many veterinary medical discoveries benefiting animals resulting from laboratory animal research. ”

Global pharmaceutical companies, whose job it is to produce new drugs for other animals (among them, Zoetis), also publicly recognize the role of animal use in research and testing. You can recognize Zoetis as the company that donate its COVID-19 vaccine to zoos so that zoo animals are protected. What do they say about the use of animals in their research and laboratory testing program?

Zoetis is dedicated to helping animals live longer, healthier lives through the discovery and development of breakthrough drugs and therapies. Animal biomedical research in the pharmaceutical industry remains an essential part of discovery, evaluation and regulatory processes, which lead to the development of products that save or improve the lives of animals around the world.

Bonobos were among the primates vaccinated against Covid-19 at the San Diego Zoo. Photograph: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance / Reuters

Today’s story, as reported by Maryn McKenna in Wired is on a new valley fever vaccine. This is yet another example of how animal research benefits other animals and, potentially, humans as well.

What is valley fever?

According to the CDC, Valley fever (Coccidioidomycosis) is an infection caused by the fungus Coccidioids. The fungus is known to live in soil in the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico and Central and South America. The fungus was also recently found in south-central Washington state. People can get valley fever by breathing in the microscopic fungal spores in the air. In 2019, there were 18,407 cases of valley fever reported to CDC. In humans, valley fever can cause fatigue (fatigue), cough, fever, shortness of breath, headache, night sweats, muscle or joint pain, and rash on the chest. upper body or legs. These symptoms usually last for a while. a few weeks at some months. However, some patients have symptoms that last longer, especially if the infection becomes severe.

The valley fever is not contagious. It occurs by exposure to the fungus. It doesn’t just affect humans. It also affects pets, including dogs. An estimated 30 million dogs live in areas where Valley Fever is endemic, including Arizona, in the southwestern United States. About 1 in 10 dogs develop the disease each year in some counties in Arizona. And, although it is less common, Valley fever has also been diagnosed in cats. Now that could all change.

What’s the breakthrough?

Breakthrough is a new vaccine candidate against valley fever in dogs. According to a newly published article the vaccine works or has been shown to work in a two-dose regimen. This is promising news for the roughly 30 million dogs living in areas where valley fever is a risk. Dogs that live there can directly benefit from research and testing on their peers.

“We think the results are very convincing that the vaccine shows robust protection in this model – and it is an aggressive model, compared to wild-type infection,” said John Galgiani, lead author of the article. and director of University of Arizona Valley Fever Center of Excellence. This means that the vaccine works extremely well in an experimental model that produces severe symptoms and is therefore likely to be very effective.

Doberman Pinscher with valley fever. Note the dog’s head-down posture and trembling gait, as well as the dog’s loss of mass, so much so that his ribs and other skeletal elements were clearly visible. Source: CDC / Dr. Maddy, Dr. Lucille K. Georg – This media is from Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention‘s Public health image library (PHIL).

As with most animal research, the time or number of years (i.e. #TimeScales) between basic research “in the lab” and medical advances delivered “at the bedside” of patients – humans or other animals – is often long. How long is this “bench-to-bedside” period? Well, Galgiani has been working on this vaccine since the 1980s (it’s been over 40 years!). And those 40+ years allowed his team to do what hadn’t been done before. In fact, so far there has been no vaccine against valley fever, nor against any fungal disease.

Next steps

Together with biotech company Anivive, Galgiani will submit the valley fever vaccine formulation to the US federal agency that approves animal drugs, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The company is now planning a real-world safety trial with 600 companion dogs whose humans have volunteered for the clinical trial. But researchers and the company aren’t just concerned with protecting dogs. Humans are also exposed to valley fever. Next, the team hopes to partner with other companies to develop a human vaccine candidate.

An effective valley fever vaccine is important for reducing disease and suffering in humans and other animals. Beyond tackling a significant health threat, a vaccine can have additional positive consequences. For example, valley fever is estimated cost 3.9 billion US dollars per year. According to one estimate, an effective vaccine against valley fever could save $ 1.5 billion in health care costs each year.

The story of the valley fever vaccine is just one of many examples of how animal research and testing benefits both humans and other animals. What it also highlights is the simple fact that, as in humans, where participants in clinical trials for new drugs or treatments absorb risks in order to benefit others, advances that benefit some animals. also depend on the use of others in research and testing.

Whether an animal should be used in research or testing that may benefit another animal is an ethical consideration. And this applies to both humans and other animals. You might be wondering: should animal testing be used to produce drugs that are safe for other animals? This is a question that we have asked before and that you might ask before accepting this new vaccine for your dog.

You want to know more ? Should animal experiments be used to produce drugs that are safe for other animals?