According to the International Horse Sports Confederation, significant strides have been taken towards developing an effective vaccine for African Horse Sickness,
African Horse Sickness is a serious and often fatal disease with forms that affect the heart and/or lungs. Endemic in many regions of Africa, the viral disease is spread by biting midges and may be spread by biting flies or mosquitoes.
The disease significantly affects the international movement of horses particularly in South Africa, which is why the IHSC has been supporting AHS-related research projects for the past three years.
The DIVA designation given to marker vaccines means horses vaccinated for AHS can be identified separately from horses that have been exposed to AHS naturally—an important distinction when testing horses to be exported. The vaccine candidate has shown to be effective in both endemic situations and during outbreaks of the disease.
The IHSC has prepared a roadmap for the commercial development of the vaccine and includes a provision for a challenge study, which is considered a necessary step toward demonstrating the vaccine's effectiveness against all nine sterotypes of AHS and in supporting regulatory registration of the vaccine.