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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program                                                            
Phase 4 (2009 Deadline)

Characterization of Mycoplasma gallisepticum Isolates from Pakistan and Their Use in Production of Diagnostic Antigen and Vaccine 

Mazhar Khan, University of Connecticut
Masood Rabbani, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS)
Pakistani Funding (Department of State): $225,440
US Funding (Department of State): $63,450
Project Dates on US Side: November 15, 2010 - November 14, 2013 (Extended through September 30, 2014)
Project Overview
Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) causes chronic respiratory disease in domestic poultry, and without proper diagnostic and preventive measures, a case of MG infection could put a farmer out of business. Up to now, only limited information has been available on the identification and molecular characterization of Pakistani MG isolates. False positive results often arise when commercially available imported diagnostic kits are used, indicating that different strains of MG pathogens are prevalent among Pakistani poultry. In addition, production of biologics using indigenous isolates of MG has not yet been initiated, and the high cost and poor availability of MG biologics in the country has limited their use by poor farmers. These circumstances have helped to perpetuate mycoplasmosis in Pakistani poultry flocks. The objective of this project is to make use of conventional and modern techniques for prompt diagnosis of MG. After successful characterization of the disease agent, the research team will work to produce diagnostic reagents and vaccine using indigenous Pakistani MG isolates. These biologics will then be standardized, and qualified local vaccine meeting international standards will be released to selected governmental and private poultry farms for field trials. If successful, this project should help to address a serious livestock disease and ultimately assist Pakistani poultry farmers. 
Quarterly Update
One of the main objectives of this project was development of local cost effective MG antigen for screening of poultry flocks. Antigen has been successfully prepared by local scientists with guidance and coordination of PI’s from both Pak & US side. During the reporting period reproducibility of results was evaluated using local antigen that was found equally good compared to commercially available MG antigen. Other objective was development and evaluation of inactivated MG vaccine. Vaccine has been prepared and evaluated on experimental birds. Feld trial discussions are in process with stake holders to finalize the poultry flock for trail. It is pertinent to mention here that vaccine produced in this project is cost effective and efficacious (observed in experimental trail). About 5 MG isolates have been confirmed and for their sequencing, a foreign lab has been contacted and soon samples will be sent for sequencing. Many postgraduates are receiving training on the isolation and identification of MG in MG lab established at UDL under this project. One post graduate student from Agriculture University Peshawar (khyber Pakhtunkhwa) currently working in this project and two post graduate students from Microbiology department of University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) are working on “Effects of Newcastle disease virus glycoprotein on antibodies of broiler to MG vaccine “ and “antibody response of broilers to oil based combined MG and AI virus vaccine“ at UDL. One abstract titled as “Factors affecting sensitivity of rapid serum agglutination antigen of Mycoplasma gallisepticum” was presented and published in National Conference on Current Approaches in Microbiology, organized by Hazara University, Mansehra on June 26-28, 2013.
Progress Report

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