Scientists in Glasgow are working with colleagues at Kansas State University to tackle animal diseases caused by bunyaviruses.

Research will help protect ruminants from new threats.

The university has received a grant of £479,311 from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the US Department of Agriculture to look at new ways of controlling emerging viruses.

Funding comes from the US-UK Collaborative Animal Health and Disease and Veterinary Immune Reagents programme.

Bunyaviruses are responsible for a range of conditions in ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep and goats, including Schmallenberg virus (SBV), first detected in the UK in January 2012.

SBV can cause fever, diarrhoea, reduced milk production, stillbirths and birth defects, and is thought to be spread by midges. A vaccine was developed for the virus in 2013 and now protects animals in the UK.

Richard Elliott, the Bill Jarrett chair of infectious diseases, said: “Ensuring our food supplies are safe is hugely important, particularly as demand increases and resources are stretched.

“This grant will allow us to gain a greater understanding of emerging threats and, should any new viruses similar to Schmallenberg arise in the UK, enable us to develop means to deal with them.”

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