Our Mycobacteria group receives the Zendal animal health award for its innovative work to improve the diagnosis and control of animal diseases

  • Although we won this award last year, the award ceremony could not be held in person until now due to the limitations arising from the health alert situation

On 18 November 2021, the Mycobacteria group of NEIKER’s Animal Health Department received one of the prestigious International Zendal Awards in Vigo, awards that aim to promote research in human and animal health projects within the One Health concept.

Specifically, we were the winners in the animal health category for our innovative work to improve the diagnosis and control of animal diseases by applying a change in the paradigm of the ineffectiveness of inactivated (killed) mycobacteria vaccines by showing their safety and efficacy.

This new concept opens the door to re-evaluate vaccination from the perspective of learned immunity (trained immunity) to reduce overall mortality in early life and, in general, to strengthen the immune system of animals.

Currently, this project developed by NEIKER is the only one in which a vaccine against paratuberculosis has been tested in cattle under field conditions and over a long period of time, and has served to confirm epidemiologically the prediction of the theory of learned innate immunity in a domestic species other than humans.

The Zendal Awards

The International Zendal Awards are created by the Zendal Pharmaceutical Group to disseminate, promote and reward knowledge and research in the field of biotechnology worldwide.

In its second edition, in addition to NEIKER, the Centro Singular de Investigación en Química Biológica y Materias Moleculares (Ciqus) was also recognised for its possible vaccine against SARS-COV-2 and the director of the Centro de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO), María Blasco, for her professional career.

The jury

The decision of the awards was in the hands of a prestigious group of experts headed by Professor Juan José Badiola Díez, Emeritus Professor of Animal Health, Director of the Centre for Encephalopathies and Emerging Communicable Diseases at the University of Zaragoza, former President of the General Council of Veterinary Associations of Spain and former member of the Council of State; María Jesús Lamas, Director of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products; María Jaureguízar Redondo, Managing Director of the Vet+i Foundation-Spanish Technology Platform for Animal Health; Carlos Martín Montañés, Professor of Microbiology, Preventive Medicine and Public Health and leader of the most advanced new vaccine project against human tuberculosis; Miguel Ángel Llamas, PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and CEO of the molecular diagnostics company Empireo; Jelle Thole, founder of the scientific leadership team of the TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI), a non-profit foundation based in the Netherlands that supports the development of new vaccines against tuberculosis. The jury also included two senior members of the Zendal Group who acted as secretary and chairman.

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