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The Pirbright Institute

Avian Influenza Group

In the Avian Influenza Group we study the evolution and disease-causing capacity (pathogenicity) of avian influenza viruses, to contribute to the development of control measures for poultry. Amongst our objectives are the following:

  • Identifying, at the gene level, the events involved in the evolution of high pathogenicity avian influenza viruses from low pathogenicity ones, and in the spread from individuals to populations of birds. The genes in question are those for the two proteins at the surface of influenza virus, the haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA).
  • Understanding how avian influenza viruses evade the early anti-viral defence mechanisms (innate immune responses) of chickens.
  • Developing novel vaccines against avian influenza, by putting the HA gene into vaccine strains of other viruses already used for poultry e.g. herpesvirus of turkeys (a vaccine against Marek's disease), and avian infectious bronchitis virus. In particular we shall be developing avian influenza vaccines that could be applied to chicks before they hatch (in ovo vaccination).
  • Contributing to the development of reagents and robust assays for rapid diagnosis of avian influenza viruses.


Recent Publications


Munir Iqbal
Munir Iqbal



(Participate in the First GARAD Conference (King college London) from June 29 to July 01, 2015 More info)


Contact us

Please email us at enquiries@pirbright.ac.uk.