The world reference laboratory for foot and mouth disease at Pirbright is to receive funding of $3 million from the FAO and OIE to help deliver the aims of a new global foot and mouth disease control strategy.

The world reference laboratory for foot and mouth disease (FMD) at Pirbright is to receive funding of $3 million to help deliver the aims of a new global foot and mouth disease control strategy.

FMD reference lab at IAH Pirbright to receive $3m fundingThe laboratory, which is part of the Institute for Animal Health, has been acknowledged by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN) and OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) as the centre of global expertise on research, surveillance and diagnostics for FMD.

News of the funding ($3 million over 5 years) follows the launch of the FAO and OIE Global FMD Control Strategy last week (June 27, 2012) and puts Pirbright at the centre of the first 5-year phase of work.

Jef Hammond, head of the institute’s World, EU, OIE and national reference laboratories for FMD, said: “The initial phase of the strategy, which includes the funding for our lab, gives us an opportunity on a global scale to implement the measures that we know can work to control FMD. The FAO and OIE are promoting a coordinated approach across the world using effective diagnostics, vaccines and other control measures – many of which were developed here at Pirbright.”

According to Dr Hammond, he plans to use the funds to create a dedicated team at Pirbright that will focus on delivering the aims of the Global FMD Control Strategy, which are to:

  • Improve global FMD control,
  • Strengthen veterinary services, and  
  • Improve the prevention and control of other major diseases of livestock.

Dr Jef HammondAround the world FMD is endemic in many countries and the global losses are estimated at $5 billion per year. The World Bank has suggested a budget of just under $1 billion over five years to fund the initial programme of work.

Bryan Charleston, head of the Livestock Viral Disease Programme at the IAH, said: “Over the 15 years covered by this strategy and with the funding committed there is a chance to make great strides not only in FMD but to improve veterinary services and control of many livestock diseases across the world.

“Ultimately we will need to have vaccines against FMD that are at least as effective as existing vaccines but are easier to manufacture and handle. At the institute we are focussed on developing vaccines that can be produced on a large scale without the need for high containment facilities and that are stable at higher temperatures.”

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