12 July 2011 - In November 2010, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) issued a request to policy-makers, representatives of international organizations and foremost scientists involved in vaccine development for the control of Rift Valley Fever (RVF), to attend a workshop entitled "Rift Valley Fever vaccine development, progress, and constraints".
The workshop was organized under the umbrella of the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs), a joint initiative of FAO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). It was supported by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC), with the participation of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Central Veterinary Institute of Wageningen University and Research Centre (CVI-WUR).
The meeting was held at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy from 19 to 21 January 2011. The views on the current and future control of RVF were presented, and the stages of development of candidate vaccines were reported by key stakeholders in vaccine development from international organizations and related industry. The desired characteristics of vaccines for application in different areas of the world were debated, as were the advantages of applying Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals (DIVA) vaccines. The necessity of establishing emergency vaccine banks for livestock was discussed, as was the need for a human vaccine to protect farmers, veterinarians and others at elevated risk for RVF.
It was concluded that robust challenge models must become available to facilitate rational selection of novel veterinary vaccines, and that incentives for vaccine manufacturers should be established to ensure that these vaccines come to market in a timely manner. A total of 11 recommendations to policy-makers, industry and the scientific community were formulated to facilitate this process. Today, FAO releases the conference proceedings.