Thursday, March 16, 2023 -
12:00 to 13:00
Specific location: 
Room 201

BMC Seminar Thursday 16th of March at 12:00 in Læknagarður, room 201

Speaker: Dr. Sigríður Jónsdóttir, Principal Investigator at the Division of Virology and Molecular Biology at the Institute for Experimental Pathology, University of Iceland, Keldur.

Title: Development of a preventive vaccine against insect bite hypersensitivity in horses

Abstract: Insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is an IgE-mediated dermatitis of horses caused by bites of insects of the genus Culicoides. IBH does not occur in Iceland due to absence of the causative insects but has a high incidence (>50%) in horses exported from Iceland to countries where Culicoides spp. are endemic. The allergens in IBH are salivary gland proteins and the major allergens have been identified and expressed as recombinant proteins in differ expression systems. To study the potential of a preventive allergen immunotherapy (AIT) against IBH, 27 Icelandic horses were vaccinated with a pool of 9 Culicoides r-allergens in Alum/MPLA before and yearly after export from Iceland to Switzerland. After the three years in Switzerland 15 out of the 27 horses showed clinical sign of IBH. The AIT does therefore not reduce the incident of IBH. However, in a basophil activation test the vaccinated IBH horses have a lower sulfidoleukotriene release following a stimulation with the AIT-allergens compared to IBH horses living in Switzerland for > 5 years and when compared to IBH horses that have been in Switzerland for 3 years. Further studies are needed to understand why the preventive AIT did not decrease the incidence of IBH in horses imported from Iceland.

Short bio: B.Sc. degree in biology from the University of Iceland, M.Sc. and PhD degrees in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Iceland under the supervision of Sigurbjörg Þorsteinsdóttir and Vilhjálmur Svansson. The first PostDoc at the University of Bern and EVAX focusing on the safety of IL-5 vaccine as a treatment against IBH. The second PostDoc at the University of Bern with the focus on the preventive AIT. Currently a Principal Investigator at the Institute for Experimental Pathology, University of Iceland, Keldur.

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