Cape Town – Researchers at UCT’s Biopharming Research Institute (BRU) have created a vaccine candidate to help prevent a highly infectious and deadly disease, African horse sickness (AHS), from affecting tobacco plants.
The devastating disease is prevalent in Africa, with up to 90% of infected horses dying in some outbreaks.
AHS disease of horses is transmitted by insect bites. The commercial vaccine known as a live-attenuated vaccine remains effective but carries some risks.
Professor Ed Rybicki, director of the BRU, said the new vaccine candidate was extremely immunogenic.
“It also produces neutralising antibodies when administered to healthy horses. That means that the vaccine works really well in initial tests, but needs to be tested against an actual outbreak of AHS before it can be sold,” Rybicki said.