Foot-and-mouth disease vaccine matching

Solicitation number EN578-170003/38

Publication date

Closing date and time 2019/10/29 14:00 EDT

Last amendment date


    October 16, 2019

    • Attachment 1 has been added. The document contains questions and answers related to the Challenge.
    • GSIN AJ212508 has been added


    This Challenge Notice is issued under the Innovative Solutions Canada Program (ISC) Call for Proposals 002 (EN578-170003/C). For general ISC information, Bidders can visit the ISC website.

    Please refer to the Solicitation Documents which contain the process for submitting a proposal.

    Steps to apply:

    Step 1: read this challenge

    Step 2: read the Call for Proposals

    Step 3: propose your solution here

    CHALLENGE TITLE: Foot-and-mouth disease vaccine matching

    CHALLENGE SPONSOR: Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

    Funding Mechanism: Contract


    Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.

    The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $100,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 6 months.

    The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $350,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 24 months. Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.

    This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding.

    TRAVEL:  For Phase 1 it is anticipated that two meetings will require the successful bidder(s) to travel to the location identified below:

    Kick-off meeting

    Winnipeg, MB

    Final Review Meeting

    Winnipeg, MB

    All other communication can take place by telephone.

    Problem Summary Statement

    The CFIA is seeking a solution that will use predictive computer models for Foot-and-Mouth disease vaccine matching.

    Problem Statement

    In the case of a Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) outbreak, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) would be responsible for responding to it, including by selecting the most appropriate vaccine to use. Vaccination is accepted as a control measure to respond to an outbreak of FMD and therefore it is important to match the vaccine, antigenically, as closely as possible to the causative field isolate. Use of vaccine matching is crucial for successful implementation of vaccination-based FMD control policy. There are several in vivo and in vitro techniques to match a vaccine stored in the vaccine bank to the outbreak virus. However, most are time consuming and highly variable.

    Recently computational approaches such as antigenic cartography have been used to predict serological relationships between FMD viruses. These techniques facilitate quantification and visualization of antigenic relationships of vaccine strains and field viruses based on their antigenic distance generated from normalized serological and/or sequence data. Currently there is a need to develop more accurate computational systems to support antigenic characterization and FMDV matching studies to allow more precise measurement of antigenic relationships between antibody and FMDV antigen to support vaccine selection after a FMD outbreak.

    Desired outcomes and Considerations

    Essential (Mandatory) Outcomes

    Proposed solutions must:

    1. be able to perform antigenic cartography and antigen analysis using virus neutralization data 

    2. be able to analyze over 100 antigens (virus) and compare each antigen to a set of reference sera to establish antigenic relation

    3. display results in graphic form for easy interpretation

    4. produce antigenic mapping correlated with the genetic makeup of virus isolates

    5. detect emerging variants based on differences in antigenic distances

    6. identify potential options for cross reactivity and cross protection between defined FMDV antigens

    7. provide an in silico assessment of the relation between a FMD field virus and strains stored at a vaccine bank

    Additional Outcomes

    Proposed solutions should:

    1. facilitate the selection of FMD vaccines based on circulating strains in high risk areas of the world

    2. provide a visual computer interface to facilitate input and interpretation of results

    3. be applicable to other diseases

     Background and Context

    Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) is a severe, highly communicable viral disease of cattle and swine. It also affects sheep, goats, deer and other cloven-hoofed ruminants. In addition to causing production losses, FMD can have a severe economic impact in endemic countries through, among other things, restriction of trade with FMD-free countries. Incursion from endemic countries into disease-free areas also carries high animal welfare and economic costs.

    FMD vaccination is a key element for the control of the disease. FMD vaccines consist of chemically inactivated purified whole virus preparations. The high level of antigenic variation in FMD virus (FMDV) means that currently there is no universal vaccine that can afford protection against all serotypes of the virus. Antigenic diversity between serotypes and genotypes means that vaccination with another serotype or other genotypes of the same serotype may fail to control the disease. Consequently, the vaccine strain requirements differ according to the serotypes and genotypes of viruses prevailing in or threatening different regions, and vaccines have to be selected with care. FMD free countries, such as Canada, store various strains of inactivated FMDV antigen over liquid nitrogen in an antigenic vaccine bank, ready for immediate formulation into a vaccine if required during an emergency. The vaccine strains stored in the bank are generally chosen on the basis of the perceived coverage against a number of different field isolates circulating globally. Current vaccines have been used successfully to aid in the eradication of the virus from many areas of the globe.

    As the antigenic diversity of FMDV is a major concern for FMD control, regular vaccine matching and strain selection studies appropriate for each region are essential for disease control. In the face of an outbreak, both in vivo and in vitro methods of vaccine matching are not easy, and time consuming. Therefore easy and rapid selection of vaccine strains in an outbreak situation is required. The FMDV capsid contains all the immunogenic epitopes, and therefore a sequence based method of vaccine selection may be a promising tool for future studies. Vaccine strain prediction models using both capsid sequence and serology data will likely replace existing tools in the future. Regional vaccine matching and selection studies using relevant circulating field viruses need to be carried out regularly to ensure the vaccine strain selected is a good match with the circulating field viruses.

    Canada is a member of the North American FMD vaccine bank (NAFMDVB). This bank was established between Canada, Mexico and the United States to ensure that a FMD vaccine would be available to help control an outbreak of FMD on the North American continent, and to assist in contingency planning for an outbreak of FMD. The Bank has been in existence since 1982, during which time there have been no outbreaks of FMD in North America. However, there has been a recent change in the assessment of the risk of an FMD outbreak. It was originally perceived that FMD virus would cause an outbreak following its illegal, but accidental introduction. Since 2001 the possibility also exists that FMD virus could be intentionally introduced. The specter of a large scale outbreak of FMD on the North American continent has provided impetus to more quickly establish a comprehensive inventory of antigens within the Bank, to cover the potential outbreak strains.

    Since 2010, Canada, Mexico and the United States have begun including vaccination as one of the options policy makers may use during a first response in an outbreak. Therefore a rapid identification of the best vaccine to use is of paramount importance. The development of tools to predict the antigenic relationship between viruses stored in the vaccine bank and field viruses is critical to rapidly implement a vaccination strategy. 


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    Contract duration

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    Contact information

    Contracting organization

    Public Works and Government Services Canada
    11 Laurier St, Phase III, Place du Portage
    Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0S5
    Contracting authority
    Secrétariat de Solutions Innovatrices Canada / Innovative Solutions Canada Secretariat
    10 Wellington
    Gatineau, QC, K1A 0S5

    Buying organization(s)

    Public Works and Government Services Canada
    11 Laurier St, Phase III, Place du Portage
    Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0S5
    Bidding details

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