Our unit has been engaged in exploration of novel intervention and diagnosis methods of avian and swine influenza.
For research on highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV), we have generated artificial viruses using reverse genetic technics to learn how changes in virus genes affect virulence and transmissibility of HPAVs. To circumvent deficiency of currently available whole virion vaccines, we have been exploring mucosal immune system of poultry and possibility for mucosal vaccines against HPAI. We have collected avian influenza viruses, some of those were causative agents of HPAI outbreaks in Japan and abroad to evaluate and maintain sensitivity of the genetical diagnosis system that are employed at local municipal animal health office on the front line of defense against HPAI in Japan.
For swine influenza research, we have been participated in J-GRID program, funded by Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) to carry out collaboration study with researchers in Thailand and Vietnam. The collaboration research has revealed genetic diversity of influenza A virus of swine in those countries. Recently, we have been granted a research fund to evaluate vaccine efficacy of currently available swine influenza vaccine and have established experimental infection model of influenza virus with SPF pigs.