Field trial for cattle vaccine?

The Farmers Guardian reported late last week that Defra is considering a large-scale trial next year of a TB vaccine in cattle. A group including an animal health advisory company and academics from Cambridge University are currently working on plans.

Any such trial would obviously be costly, so it appears that no decision has yet been taken. There are clearly still some obstacles in the way of this becoming a commercial possibility.

But the article goes on to say:

A series of small-scale experimental trials of the BCG vaccine on cattle have taken place at the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency’s (AHVLA) Weybridge facility as precursors to a possible field trial.

The BCG vaccine is currently being used on a group of 23 two-year-old cattle which have been ‘challenged’ with the disease in an enclosed facility. In November, BCG was trialled on a group of 80 calves.

But in order to gauge the effectiveness of the vaccine to the level required for licensing, field trials involving large numbers of cattle across various sites will be required.

AHVLA chief executive Chris Hadkiss said:

“Defra is considering it. Money will be a question. It will take time and a lot of animals and will therefore be expensive.”

Vaccination will be one of the issues discussed at an international M.Bovis conference in Wales this week.

You can read the full article here.