To answer this question, Okti Nadia Poetri researched the effect of vaccination to stop the spread of avian influenza in Indonesia. On January 21 Poetri will defence her thesis of this research.Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) also known as 'bird flu', is considered to be a major threat to both poultry farming and to public health. In Thailand and in Europe HPAI H5N1 is eradicated, mainly because of stamping out and practicing stringent biosafety measures. When HPAI H5N1 occurred in Indonesia in 2004 farmers were not prepared to adhere to stamping out among others because of the lack of a compensation regime, causing the virus to spread further. Not only poultry is frequently infected with avian influenza in Indonesia, so far no other country has had as many cases of human infections with bird flu.
The current way to control avian influenza in Indonesia is by the vaccination of poultry kept in large commercial poultry farms. Poetri studied vaccination effectiveness as well as the cause of outbreaks of avian influenza in populations of vaccinated chickens.
Poetri describes how by performing serology in the laboratory test it can be predicted whether a specific vaccine strain can offer protection against a circulating virus. This would in turn reduce animal experiments necessary to assess vaccine efficacy. Her research may eventually contribute to an improvement of the current vaccination strategy.
Guus Koch, PhD, CVI, supported Poetri as co-supervisor in her research. Ivo Claassen, PhD, CVI, worked several years in Indonesia supporting the Indonesian-Netherlands Partnership on the Prevention and Control of Highly Avian Influenza and met Poetri who got involved in the research on effectiveness of the vaccination for HPAI H5N1.