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Agreement to develop E. coli O157:H7 vaccine
Researchers at work on the project in the Roslin Institute
Collaborative research enters commercial phase

Roslin Technologies has signed an agreement with animal sciences research establishments Moredun Research Institute, Scotland’s Rural College and the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, to fund the commercial development of an E. coli O157:H7 vaccine for cattle, which it is claimed will prevent illness in humans.

E. coli O157:H7 is a pathogenic bacterium of cattle that can cause life-threatening food-borne illness in humans through the consumption of contaminated products, such as dairy products and meat. Despite efforts to reduce contamination of food, E. coli O157:H7 causes one to 10 cases per 100,000 people, with certain countries having clusters of more virulent strains – notably the UK, USA, Argentina and Sweden.
The experimental vaccine has been developed to limit E. coli O157:H7 shedding from – and transmission between – cattle. Although the bacteria do not harm cattle, farmers will be encouraged to vaccinate animals against infection with this new vaccine. Early results have indicated that this vaccine may be more effective than other previous attempts and have a greater impact in reducing human exposure and infection.

The project team has been led by Dr Simon Wheeler COO of Roslin Technologies, with significant input from the principal investigators, Professor David Gally from Roslin Institute and Dr Tom McNeilly from Moredun Research Institute, who have been doing the fundamental research necessary to really understand whether the vaccine works and the essential science behind it.

Under the new agreement, Roslin Technologies will perform a two-step validation trial from May  to September 2020 in Nebraska, USA. The field trials will examine ‘super-shedding’ in cattle to discover whether the vaccine prevents shedding of the bacteria and is viable for commercial use.
The background research was funded  in part by UK agencies Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, FSA/FSS (Food Standards Agency/Food Standards Scotland), and other commercial partners. This valuable contribution is recognised by the project team.

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AWF Student Grant open for submissions

News Story 1
 Applications are open for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Student Grant Scheme for innovative research projects designed to impact animal welfare.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students of veterinary science, veterinary nursing, agriculture studies and animal welfare are invited to submit their proposals to undertake research projects next year.

Grants are decided based on the project’s innovation, relevance to topical animal welfare issues and ability to contribute towards raising animal welfare standards. For more information visit  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
SPANA film highlights plight of working animals overseas

Animal welfare charity SPANA (The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has teamed up with Brian Blessed and other famous voices to highlight the plight of working animals overseas.

In a new animated film, the celebrities raise awareness by showing the solidarity of the UK's own working animals on strike. A sniffer dog (Brian Blessed), police horse (Peter Egan) and sheepdog (Deborah Meaden) are shown ignoring their duties and protesting in solidarity with animals in developing countries.

SPANA chef executive Geoffrey Dennis said: "We are so grateful to Deborah, Peter and Brian for lending their voices to our new film, and for speaking up for millions of working animals overseas. SPANA believes that a life of work should not mean a life of suffering, and it is only thanks to people’s generosity and support that we can continue our vital work improving the lives of these animals."