The Netherlands starts bird flu vaccination trial on newly-hatched chicks
The Netherlands launched a trial program to begin vaccinating one-day-old chickens against bird flu, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality reported on Monday. The vaccine was previously tested in laboratory conditions. Now, a total of 1,800 chicks will receive the vaccine during the trial that will be conducted in two farms.
The ministry is working with Wageningen University & Research, Royal GD, and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University to conduct field trials testing the effectiveness of two vaccines against bird flu in real-world conditions. This follows laboratory research at Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, which showed promising results in preventing virus spread.
"The bird flu is a serious disease that has affected the poultry sector enormously, it affects both the animals and the entrepreneurs, and of course, many wild birds have died because of it,” stated outgoing Agriculture Minister Piet Adema. “We are therefore taking action together to reduce the number of infections in domestic poultry,” he wrote.
In this test trial, chickens will be grouped and tested at regular intervals to study the vaccines' effectiveness against infections. The trials adhere to new European regulations, ensuring thorough monitoring and control of the process, the ministry said. Food products from the vaccinated chickens will not enter the market.
The trial will be conducted on two farms, and is set to continue until the third quarter of 2025. Initial results are anticipated in the second quarter of 2024.
In addition to the field trial, a pilot will be conducted in the second quarter of 2024 to vaccinate a larger number of poultry farms in the Netherlands, contingent upon European approval of the vaccine and the availability of initial laboratory trial results.