Immune response to avian influenza virus

Principal Investigator

Shayan Sharif, University of Guelph

Year the work was done


Overall objective

  • To delineate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of chicken immune responses to avian influenza virus, and use these responses to develop vaccines that effectively control replication and transmission of the virus.


  • Dr. Sharif’s research has provided valuable information on various aspects of chicken immune responses to AIV. His research team obtained evidence that T cells respond to the HA antigen of AIV with characterized immune responses to a commercial vaccine (not approved for use in Canada).
  • The researchers then set their sights on developing a more effective, virosome-based vaccine. Virosomes are virus-like particles that are devoid of nucleic acids and hence cannot replicate. By virtue of their physicochemical characteristics, virosomes can gain access to the compartments inside host cells and induce antibody- and cell-mediated responses, both of which are necessary for protection against influenza.


  • This research is part of an overall program to better understand the biology of avian influenza with the long-term goal of developing rational control strategies in domestic poultry. Results thus far suggest the virosome vaccine system could be part of such a strategy.

This research applies to

Breeders, Broilers, Layers, Turkeys

This research was supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Poultry Industry Council.