Tuesday, 20 November 2012

£5.6m project seeks new Foot and Mouth vaccine

A £5.6 million Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funded research project, led by Professor Martin Ryan of the School of Biology, aims to find a new vaccine to combat Foot and Mouth Disease in livestock. The 5-year study, which will also involve the Pirbright Institute, and the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh and Leeds will investigate how the virus grows in, and interacts with, cells to harness such knowledge to improve diagnosis and develop a new generation of more effective vaccines.

The Foot and Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV) is one of the most contagious viruses in domestic livestock including cattle, sheep, goats and pigs and can infect more than 70 species of wildlife, greatly increasing the difficulty of disease control, which is further complicated by the existence of seven distinct serotypes with thousands of strains of the virus.

Outbreaks of FMDV in the UK in 2001 and 2007 had devastating effects on farming. The 2001 outbreak cost the UK economy billions of pounds with millions of animals destroyed. [press release]