BBSRC has funded a new multidisciplinary network of veterinary vaccinology experts to help in the fight against animal diseases.

The UK Veterinary Vaccinology Network will draw together major UK research players to enhance the uptake of new technologies to design, develop and deliver safe and effective next generation vaccines against new and re-emerging diseases.

Building on the UK’s strength in veterinary science, advances in biotechnology and the biological revolution in new technologies (such as next generation DNA sequencing and synthetic biology), there are opportunities for researchers to create new veterinary vaccines and increase efficient development pathways for them.

Bryan Charleston
, head of the livestock viral diseases programme at the Pirbright Institute, and network coordinator, said: “There is huge potential to improve animal welfare, human health and the economic performance of the UK livestock industries by developing new vaccines for widespread infectious diseases caused by parasites, bacteria and viruses.

“The network will facilitate and promote coordination of research in this important field to generate the scientific knowledge and discoveries needed for a step change in veterinary vaccinology.”

BBSRC has fostered the multi-disciplinary community to form a coherent research agenda in this area. With the UK livestock industry (including cows, pigs, sheep, poultry and fish) estimated to have an annual value of more than £14b in 2013, the research will have direct benefits for the UK economy.

Melanie Welham
, BBSRC’s science director, said: “We have an excellent breadth of skills in this area across the UK, but a strategic, concerted effort is required to improve animal health, ensure global food security and reduce the impact of animal diseases on public health. The network will advance the field by sharing resources, encouraging collaboration between experts in veterinary and medical sciences, and establishing links with industry.”

The network includes experts from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Cambridge Veterinary School, the University of Edinburgh, Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Moredun Research Institute, the University of Oxford, The Pirbright Institute, The Roslin Institute, the Royal Veterinary College and the University of Stirling. The network has funding for five years (£300k) and will report to BBSRC and provide input into developing the future research agenda.

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