Oral Vaccines Could Provide the Answer to Rabies Elimination in Stray Dogs

Post by
emily king
April 10th 2019

Here at Mission Rabies, we're continually using science to improve our vaccination methods and back up our work with research to help us reach even more dogs and run our projects more effectively. That's why our research team, headed up by our Director of Strategic Research, Andy Gibson, have been running a proof of principle study in Goa, looking at the effectiveness of oral bait vaccines as opposed to the injectable vaccinations. 

With current vaccination methods used in India principally Catch-Vaccinate-Release (CVR), Door to Door and Static Point vaccination, there is always going to be an inaccessible canine population. We've been looking at ways of improving vaccination coverage through oral rabies vaccination, which has been used in Europe and North America to control rabies in wildlife species.

We're excited to announce this paper has now been published in Vaccine X and can now be read here!

This landmark study is the first of its kind in India, but there is not currently any oral bait vaccines licenced for use within India. We compared the efficiency of our CVR method with oral bait handout method and found an increase in human resource efficiency from 9 vaccinations per tem member per day to 35 vaccinations per team member per day. The use of oral bait also increased the proportion of dogs accessible for vaccination from 63% (CVR) to 80% (OBH). Finally, a reduction in the mean vaccination per dog was reduced from 2.53USD CVR to 2.29USD OBH.

The study, that has been conducted in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, indicates that there is an application for oral bait in India, and should it become available, it would likely benefit current and future vaccination campaigns.

Although oral bait may be a useful tool in reaching more dogs, it should be used in conjunction with other methods and not relied on as the sole source of vaccination. We will continue to focus our efforts using the CVR method as the main delivery of rabies vaccines in the canine population but look forward to exploring the oral bait method in more detail in future studies and utilise it in appropriate projects!! Future studies will look into the sero convergence rate of oral vaccination, as we are currently unable to guarantee how much of the bait has been eaten, making it less reliable than injectable vaccination. 

Our research helps us push forward in rabies elimination and help protect as many dogs and communities as possible! It's all been made possible thanks to our kind sponsors, volunteers and supporters! If you would like to help us continue this work, please donate today!