The Pirbright Institute has celebrated 100 years of success by holding a two-day conference to highlight its work.

The research facility – based in Woking, Surrey – investigates virus diseases of livestock and viruses that spread from animals to humans.

The centenary ceremony – hosted at the University of Surrey – explored the challenges and progress in the control of these diseases and zoonoses, giving delegates the opportunity to interact and debate recent advances in the control, epidemiology, virology, immunology and vaccinology of viral diseases of livestock, including poultry.

Welcoming delegates to the conference, John Fazakerley, director of the institute, said Pirbright has been “prominently involved” in research to prevent and control infectious diseases of livestock since 1914, when the first cattle testing station was established to combat tuberculosis.

“There have been many achievements along the decades and, 100 years on, the institute is a world-leading centre of excellence for surveillance and research to prevent and control virus diseases of livestock and viruses that spread from animals to people,” he said.

“This conference marks an important milestone in the institute’s history and provides an opportunity for scientists, veterinarians and policy makers to discuss recent advances in viral disease research.”

Elsewhere at the conference, Adrian Hill, from the University of Oxford, spoke about the emergency vaccine being developed by his team to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The UK’s chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens, meanwhile, provided an overview of infectious disease threats to UK livestock.

Delegates could also tour the first of the institute’s brand new state-of-the-art biocontainment facilities, The Plowright Building, which provides the UK with a national capability to support research and surveillance of high consequence viral diseases.

The institute is in the middle of a major redevelopment programme funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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