Though the poultry birds are not fully immune, scientists remain hopeful that their study says that there is a possibility to prevent the viruses completely in three years. The recent outcomes say that the changing process of the birds’ DNA could develop completely immune birds.
Helen Sang, Professor of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute stated that the team has made tremendous progress, and said, ‘We have got to the point where the results are very encouraging and we want to take this approach further.’
The researchers have found three genes that were significantly important for the bird flu virus, scientifically known as avian influenza that helps to reproduce the chickens. They invented two tiny changes to one of the genes that use technique that is known as gene editing.
However, Mike McGrew, also a prestigious Professor at Roslin Institute shared that the test tube experiments showed if the changes are imposed on all three genes then only a completely resistant bird can be viable. Stated, ‘Gene-editing offers a promising route towards permanent disease resistance, which could be passed down through generations, protecting poultry and reducing the risks to humans and wild birds. Our work shows that stopping the spread of avian influenza in chickens will need several simultaneous genetic changes,’ continued sharing, ‘When we did these edits in the cells there was no growth of the virus at all. The changes stopped all replication of the flu.’ Further said, ‘I am extremely confident that editing the three genes will give full immunity.’
Moreover, Wendy Barclay, a study Ph.D. and coauthor of Imperial College London, shared about the exciting collaboration, said, ‘Although we haven’t yet got the perfect combination of gene edits to take this approach into the field, the results have told us a lot about how influenza virus functions inside the infected cell and how to slow its replication,’ also said, ‘The way forwards here is not to rely on single edits but to use a combination of them,’
Meanwhile, France became the first country in the European territory to start poultry vaccination against the virus.
Well, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), Peter Stevenson shared that the usage of gene editing to fight back diseases in farms hazarded creating it unchallenging for the animals to be put in unhealthy conditions. He said, ‘Highly pathogenic bird flu has not been caused by wild birds; it has been generated by the crowded, stressful conditions of industrial poultry production. The proper approach to bird flu necessitates a radical restructuring of the poultry sector to reduce stocking densities and flock sizes as well as to reduce the number of farms clustered together’.
CIWF has come in support of the use of gene editing to stop the killing of billions of male chickens at the moment of birth who are refused by the industry that produces eggs. The campaign team thinks that modern technology should be used to decrease animal suffering. Well, work is under progression across the globe to evolve gene-edited animals that can prevent disease and are more productive as well.
Regardless of the gene editing some infections still appeared in the gene-edited chickens proving that the risk of avian flu has been decreased but not eliminated.