The main objectives are as follows:
* To perform serological surveys with a specific test, bELISA, in all countries that declare being infected by CCPP.
* To confirm clinical cases by isolation of Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae (MccF38) and/or by specific PCR.
* To compare the efficacy of different vaccines comparatively with the existing one.
* To express MccF38 antigens in order to be in a position to evaluate their possible use as diagnostic tools or protective antigens.
* To sequence selected genes to facilitate the molecular epidemiology of the strains belonging to the "mycoides cluster".
Gaining information on the real distribution of the disease and its real economical impact should facilitate the definition of appropriate vaccination policies. This information is now lacking. The comparative vaccine trials should also facilitate the production of a cheaper vaccine. The demand has been increasing in the past years and it cannot be met by the actual producers.
The key activities envisaged are:
* The use of specific tools such as a MAb blocking ELISA or PCR for the confirmation of CCPP suspicions. These analyses will be free of charge for developing countries, provided ample informations are given with the samples.
* Comparative trials will be made in Kenya and Ethiopia in order to assess the protection afforded by various kinds of vaccines: live attenuated strains or adjuved inactivated ones. Standard procedures for the reproduction of the disease and evaluation of protection should enable inter-laboratory comparisons hence minimizing the number of trials needed.
* Develop a phylogeny of the "mycoides cluster" by gene sequencing. Two types of genes will be sequenced, the 16S rRNA which is a standard for such a task and other genes that are specific for this group of mycoplasmas and are certainly more prone to variations.
* Expressing mycoplasma antigens is hampered by a specific genetic code that recognizes UGA as coding for Try instead of being a stop in E.coli. Expression can be enhanced by using modified vectors or by altering the mycoplasma genes by directed mutagenesis in order to enable their expression in classical vectors.
* Scientists from Kenya and Ethiopia will be trained in these techniques.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
750 07 Uppsala
EH25 9RG Roslin