Participation in the International Visitor Leadership Program “Global Health Challenges and Security” in the U.S.A.
A researcher of Animal Health Research Institute was invited to attend the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) entitled “Global Health Challenges and Security” in the United States from June 9 to 31, 2022. The IVLP is the premier professional exchange program established and coordinated by the U.S. Department of State. IVLP is an exchange program that aims to deepen the relationship between other countries and the United States through professional and cultural exchanges via short-term visits of foreign researchers or students to the United States. In this IVLP, the theme was “Global Health Challenges and Security”, and the Taiwanese participants communicated with experts and official personnel active in the public health, and agricultural sectors, as well as researchers at universities and research institutes via physical and online meetings and visits. Through this program, the Taiwanese participants gained a more comprehensive understanding of how the U.S. works to attain the goals of “One Health” and “Global Health” through multisectoral partnerships across public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Virome Analysis for the Identification of Novel Mammalian Viruses in Bats from Taiwan
In recent years, a few large-scale viral outbreaks have occurred around the world and the source of the outbreaks are believed to be zoonotic. Since bats have been confirmed to be the hosts for many zoonotic viruses, it is necessary to study the viruses that may be transmitted by bats. In this project, we collaborated with chiropterologists from Chung Yuan Christian University to detect viruses present within the collected oral swabs, urine, and excrement of Taiwanese wild bats. The viromes of these sampled Taiwanese bats were then analyzed by next generation sequencing to investigate potential bat pathogens. Our results showed that bat viromes were comprised of coronaviruses, flaviviruses, picornaviruses, herpesviruses, circoviruses, and others. Our findings may thus improve the understanding of the prevalence and evolution of the aforementioned viruses in Taiwanese bat populations.
Development, Production, and Evaluation of Safety and Efficacy of a Live Attenuated Goat Pox Vaccine
Goat pox is a highly contagious viral disease, characterized by developing erythematous eruptions. At the preliminary disease stage, lesions appear as popular papules, and pustular eruptions develop afterwards. When systemic lesions develop, hemorrhagic inflammation in the mucosa tissues of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts may occur and result in mortality. Goat poxvirus (GPV) belongs to the genus Capripoxvirus within the Poxviridae family, and only one serotype of this virus has so far been documented. Sheep poxvirus (SPV) and GPV display related antigenicity, even though two viruses exhibit host specificity. Viral particles of GPV are in the size range of ~290 x 270 nm, and the particle surfaces are covered with short tubular filaments. The GPV genome is comprised of DNA at a size of 150 Kbp.
The first case of a goat pox outbreak in Taiwan occurred in Taoyuan County in June 2008, and the outbreak was contained after the culling of 210 sheep and the disinfection of animal facilities. However, in April 2010, another goat pox outbreak in Yunlin County ensued, and 23,221 goats (accounting for one-tenth of the total number of goats raised in Taiwan) were culled. After these events, the Animal Health Research Institute urgently developed and manufactured a live attenuated goat pox vaccine. Follow-up evaluations of safety, efficacy, reversion to virulence and field trials of the vaccine were conducted according to the terrestrial animal vaccine standards outlined by the WOAH (World Organization for Animal Health). All the results of the these evaluations were qualified, and the animal vaccine manufacturing license (License NO. 08728) was issued in 2011. Currently, 120,000 to 150,000 doses of the vaccine are produced per year for goat pox prevention and control efforts in Taiwan.