The Development of the First Recombinant H9N2 Influenza Vaccine in Iran by the Researchers of Tehran University and Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

The Development of the First Recombinant H9N2 Influenza Vaccine in Iran by the Researchers of Tehran University and Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

For the first time in the country, during the cooperation between the researchers of Tehran University and Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, a recombinant vaccine was developed under the H9N2 influenza unit using the latest biotechnology methods.

This recombinant vaccine is the result of the doctoral thesis of Amir Asghari Baghkhairati, a student of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Tehran University, who was successfully completed under the supervision of Dr. Jamshid Razmyar, a member of the faculty of Tehran University, and Dr. Mohammad Hadi Sakhavi, a member of the faculty of the Faculty of Animal Sciences of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad.

Regarding the importance of using new technologies in the development of more effective vaccines against influenza, Dr. Mohammad Hadi Sakhagovi pointed out: Influenza A viruses are members of the Orthomyxoviridae family, which contain negative sense and fragmented RNA genomes and are divided into different subtypes. Influenza under the H9N2 type is one of the most important causes of death in poultry farms and causing heavy economic damage to the poultry industry. Due to the high prevalence of this virus, if it mutates and has the ability to cause disease and transfer between humans, under the H9N2 type, it has the potential to create a dangerous epidemic at the global level.

He said: Inactivated influenza vaccines are now widely used in the country. These vaccines are produced in the traditional way, have serious limitations, and in the event of a human epidemic, they will not respond to the society's need for vaccines in any way. Among these limitations, we can mention the dangers of working with live virus, the need for millions of embryonated eggs, and being expensive and time-consuming. On the other hand, inactivated vaccines should only be used by injection.

Dr. Sakhawahi said: To produce this recombinant vaccine, new biotechnology technologies were used in the Biotechnology Laboratory of the Animal Science Department of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. Genetic designs, bioinformatics studies, laboratory work and finally animal testing of the vaccine were done with success and acceptable efficiency. In this project, the latest technology of the world was used and influenza immunogenic antigen was produced using Pikia pastoris yeast. This yeast is a very safe probiotic, free of endotoxin and has a very high power in the production of recombinant proteins, and its injection into animal models has not had any side effects. This vaccine is produced without the use of live virus, without the need for embryonated eggs, with lower costs and higher efficiency, and has the potential to be used by injection, drinking, spray, and eye drops. This vaccine causes the production of a high level of protective antibodies and can reduce the virus excretion in addition to reducing the symptoms of influenza.

He further added: Several articles were extracted from this treatise, one of which was accepted in a journal with a Scopus profile, and the other articles are in the process of being submitted to prestigious international journals. Also, the process of patenting this vaccine, conducting additional tests, optimizing vaccine production in semi-industrial and then industrial conditions, as well as large-scale animal tests in broiler and laying hens are being carried out.