Plans for field trials of a new cattle vaccine and skin test for bTB have been announced by the APHA today (6 February).
Farmers are being invited to take part in the tests, subject to their farms meeting inclusion criteria, as senior vets claim “substantial progress” is being made towards eradicating the disease.
Initial trials focused on the effectiveness of the detect infected among vaccinated animals (DIVA) skin test among unvaccinated cattle.
Although analysis of those tests is ongoing, officials say both the test and the cattle BCG jab have performed well in laboratory studies conducted in controlled conditions.
The new trials will assess their capability on commercial livestock farms, with at least five sites and 600 animals expected to be involved.
Half of the animals will be given the vaccine, with the other half receiving a placebo. The trials are expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Phil Hogarth, the APHA’s lead scientist for TB, said: “This next step represents a significant milestone, building on many years of research, and the APHA will continue to be led by science and work tirelessly in the fight to eradicate this disease.”
In a joint statement, the CVOs of England, Scotland and Wales added: “Bovine TB represents one of the most difficult animal disease challenges the world faces today.
“We are making substantial progress in developing an additional tool to help eradicate this disease with the new cattle vaccine and DIVA skin test – and are very grateful to the vets and farmers taking part for their efforts in making this work on the ground.
“If this next phase is successful, this project takes us one step closer to a vaccine to be used in conjunction with other measures to tackle this insidious disease, which impacts livestock farmers across the globe.”
Interested farms and veterinary practices are now being sought to take part in the trials subject to the following inclusion criteria:
- Officially TB free (OTF) herds in the Low Risk Area of England or the Low TB Area of Wales.
- Herds that have been in existence for eight years or more.
- A minimum of three continuous years free from TB (OTF status) with a routine single intradermal comparative cervical test having been completed within 3 calendar years of day 7.
- Not in a current radial or contiguous TB testing regime.
- Not in an active TB hotspot (as defined by the APHA).
- Not having purchased cattle from a higher TB risk area in the past 12 months (of day 7).
- No scheduled statutory TB test during the proposed study period (day 7 to day 91).
Anyone interested in participating is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Credit to: Farms sought for field trials of bTB cattle vaccine and skin test (Vet Times)
Vet Times. (2023). Farms sought for field trials of bTB cattle vaccine and skin test [online]
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