New report: Knowledge base for the assessment of environmental risks by the use of genetically modified virus-vectored vaccines for domesticated animals


pages_from_42906d7ffdThe Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) was requested by the Norwegian Environment Agency in November 2015 to develop a knowledge base for assessment of the environmental risks related to the use of genetically modified (GM) virus vaccine vectors for vaccination of domesticated animals. The working group, chaired by GenØk researcher Arinze Okoli, consisted of members of the Panel on Microbial Ecology and the VKM secretariat.

This Report contains the findings of a desk study of current virus vectors used in GM virus vectored vaccines of domesticated livestock. A survey of the published literature for current knowledge in the area was undertaken with the aim of providing information relevant to the ERA of veterinary GM virus vectors (GM-VV). In identifying potential risk factors associated with vaccination of domesticated animals using GM-VV, focus was on the Norwegian environment, but relevant parallels were drawn from other European countries.

Hazards and potential risk to the environment are linked to shedding, survival and potential dissemination of the GM-VV. For example, as a consequence of delivery mechanism, GM-VVs have been delivered directly into the environment, in the case of the rabies GM vaccine bait used to control rabies in several parts of Europe. Although this is not applicable to the Norwegian mainland, relevant parallels can be drawn from these experiences. Studies on the GM rabies vaccines currently in use show that they are stable for few months in the environment, but residual pathogenicity cannot be ruled out entirely. In addition, successive selections from the original strain may produce hazardous and uncontrolled results, and variants may remain pathogenic both in target and non-target species.

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Front page photo: #000002991812