Deadline: 2019-10-24 Award: $100,000 CAD Open to: Canadian SMEs*
In the case of a Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) outbreak, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) would be responsible for responding to it, including by selecting the most appropriate vaccine to use. Vaccination is accepted as a control measure to respond to an outbreak of FMD and therefore it is important to match the vaccine, antigenically, as closely as possible to the causative field isolate. Use of vaccine matching is crucial for successful implementation of vaccination-based FMD control policy. There are several in vivo and in vitro techniques to match a vaccine stored in the vaccine bank to the outbreak virus. However, most are time consuming and highly variable.
Recently computational approaches such as antigenic cartography have been used to predict serological relationships between FMD viruses. These techniques facilitate quantification and visualization of antigenic relationships of vaccine strains and field viruses based on their antigenic distance generated from normalized serological and/or sequence data. Currently there is a need to develop more accurate computational systems to support antigenic characterization and FMDV matching studies to allow more precise measurement of antigenic relationships between antibody and FMDV antigen to support vaccine selection after a FMD outbreak.