Innovative Chicken Antibody Applications in a One Health Approach: Improving Human and Animal Health Grant uri icon


  • The avian immune system is a hugely underutilized resource, both from a medical and from an agricultural standpoint. Vaccination, which relies on immunological memory, is one of the key available strategies that can help obviate the need for dietary inclusion of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics, which are still being added to the feed in many places in the world (Gustafson & Bowen, 1997). Hence, capitalizing on the bird's own immune system by vaccinating it against (especially gastrointestinal ) parasites is an obvious sustainable strategy but one that is still in need of substantial improvement, both in efficacy, cost-effectiveness and decreased reactogenicity (Dalloul & Lillehoj, 2006; Vercruysse, Schetters, Knox, Willadsen, & Claerebout, 2007).In addition, laying hens are prodigious egg producers; they lay an egg almost every single day of the year and each yolk can contain the equivalent of 15 ml antiserum, i.e. 150 mg of lgY (Hatta, Kim, & Yamamoto, 1990; Mine & Kovacs-Nolan, 2002; Pauly, Chacana, Calzado, Brembs, & Schade, 2011). lgY is eminently suited for passive immunization in both humans and agricultural species such as porcine and bovine. Its stability in the GI tract is superior to that of any other species, and it is perfectly safe and effective for oral administration (with the exception of people who are allergic to eggs) both for prophylaxis and treatment of viral diarrhea and potentially also diarrhea caused by enterotoxigenic bacteria (Levings, 2016; Thu et al., 2017). A little known fact is that purified parenterally administered chicken antibodies have fewer side-effects than hyperimmune sera from donkeys or horses, which are currently still the species of choice for the production of anti-venoms (Stolle & Beck, 1988).Finally, thanks to the phylogenetic distance of 300 million years between modern birds and the common ancestor of birds and mammals, birds provide a unique, more comprehensive immune repertoire when it comes to the production of antibodies against any mammalian protein or cell type (Ching et al., 2018). This makes birds outstanding hosts for the production of antisera against highly conserved mammalian molecules, and potentially also cancer-specific epitopes displayed on human tumor cells that often "fly under the radar" of the human immune system (Davison, Kaspers, Schat, & Kaiser, 2011). As a consequence, avian antibodies are an underutilized source of diagnostic and imaging tools. While chicken antibodies, unlike mouse antibodies, are hard to humanize for therapeutic use, they can play a prominent role in the diagnosis and delineation of previously overlooked neoantigens (Carlander, Stalberg,& Larsson, 1999).

date/time interval

  • 2019 - 2024