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New foot-and-mouth vaccine marks a significant milestone
Scientists hope the vaccine will address the current shortfall in availability.

Vaccine less reliant on cold-chain transport and storage

A new affordable vaccine to protect livestock against several serotypes of foot-and-mouth-disease (FMD) has been granted for development by The Pirbright Institute.

Researchers say the new vaccine is more stable than existing FMD vaccines and less reliant on a cold-chain during vaccine distribution - characteristics that give the vaccine greater potential to relieve the burden placed on regions where the disease is endemic.

The vaccine is the result of a long-standing collaboration between Pirbright, the University of Oxford, Diamond Light Source, the University of Reading and MSD Animal Health, who will now be taking the technology into development.

It also marks a significant milestone in years of research to develop a new synthetic vaccine.

“We are proud and excited that our research has resulted in a vaccine that is undergoing commercial development and will have a major impact on the health and wellbeing of those people whose livelihoods have been most severely affected by this devastating disease,” said Professor Bryan Charleston, director of The Pirbright Institute. 

“The vaccine’s properties allow for a greater degree of flexibility during production, storage and transportation, which will result in a more affordable solution and therefore better access to those living in areas such as Asia and Africa.”

The vaccine is comprised of small, synthetic protein shells called ‘virus-like particles’ (VLPs). These VLPs mimic the outer shell of FMDV, stimulating an immune response.

Unlike inactivated FMD vaccines, the VLPs do not require high containment facilities for production and have been designed to remain stable up to temperatures of 56 degrees celsius, therefore reducing reliance on cold-chain transport and storage.

It is hoped that these factors combined will revolutionise vaccination in areas of Africa and Asia, where the disease continues to circulate.

Defra chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “This is a major milestone in tackling the foot-and-mouth disease in the developing countries where it is endemic.

“The increased robustness of this new vaccine has the potential to not only protect livestock but to transform the lives of people whose livelihoods have previously been threatened by this disease. Many people have worked for years to get to this point, and I am delighted to see the vaccine receive its commercial licence.”


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Celebrity chefs urge public to get baking to support Cats Protection fundraiser

News Story 1
 In support of Cats Protection's Pawsome Afternoon Tea fundraiser, Masterchef winner Tim Anderson and Great British Bake Off star Kim-Joy have shared biscuit recipes to help keen bakers raise money for needy cats across April.

The celebrity chefs are both cat owners and have said that they hope this fundraiser will help to raise awareness of cats in need and the importance of adopting a cat, rather than buying one.

This is the fourth year Cats Protection has run its Pawsome Afternoon Tea campaign, which encourages people to hold tea parties, bake sales and fundraising events to help raise money for the charity.

To view the recipes and other fundraising resources please visit the Cats Protection website. 

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News Shorts
BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.