An HPAI vaccine would not be a silver bullet, according to a veterinarian

Just like the Coronavirus, High Pathogenic Avian Influenza is a virus that continues to evolve, and it is why a vaccine to protect poultry flocks could take some time to develop.

A veterinarian with Iowa State University says a vaccine that would have worked during the last outbreak would not be effective this time around. You would also have to differentiate a sick bird from a healthy one which could be difficult, especially in high-number operations. It would be a large undertaking to vaccinate the nation’s flocks with hundreds of millions of birds in Iowa alone.

“In Iowa, most of my industry is commercial laying hens. There are 300 million birds, and I haven’t even talked about the 9.6 billion broiler industry, or the meat bird industry, so we have to make sure that we can mass mobilize vaccines available for these birds,” Dr. Yuko Sato.

Dr. Sato says a vaccine would never be a silver bullet because a vaccine will not prevent all birds from being infected. Nearly 60 million birds have died since the current outbreak began in February of 2022.