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Let's discuss the BCG vaccine



 Added by  Sally (Guest)
 21 Apr 2010, 3:44 PM


The BCG vaccine is frequently mentioned as the most common vaccine to help protect against TB. It has been used to protect people from the human form of the disease, although more recently in the UK the vaccination programme has been stopped owing to its poor cost effectiveness. An injectable form has recently been licensed for use on badgers. Could it be used for cattle? Is it a reliable vaccination and has it helped prevent the human form of TB?

becky
Comment from Dr Martin Hancox who has been involved in researching the subject of bovine Tb and badgers for many years.(www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/WMN-Letters-Cull-vaccines-waste-money/story-20993561-detail/story.html)
 
The Princess Royal reckons we should eat horses and that gassing badgers is the “kindest way to cull them”! Pity she does not know what she is talking about. The Zuckerman 1980 review found even power gassing did not reach lethal concentrations in diffuse setts. While badgers are supposed to quietly go to sleep... a few prosecutions over digging/stopping of setts found badgers clustered at the bunged-up entrance so they probably died of heart attacks trying frantically to dig themselves out.
 
Pauline Kidner, of Secret World Wildlife Rescue, is absolutely right to conclude (“Bovine TB is decreasing”, WMN letters, April 1), that the pilot badger culls were a total waste of money.
 
As noted in the very silly debate in Parliament on March 13, the cull was only about 50% of estimated badgers, ie, 1,861 out of 4-6,000 population. Of which only about 200 had TB and only a dozen or so likely to be infectious to other badgers or cows. Cost: about £7 million with extra policing.
 
The £50 million cull of 11,000 badgers had no effect on cattle TB since 85% of the cattle breakdowns supposedly due to badgers were in fact caused by unconfirmed early cattle TB reactors.
 
It is very tiresome that everyone is still pushing badger vaccines instead. Professor Donnelly, of Imperial College, recently stated vaccinating about 5,000 badgers has had no effect on cattle. Chief Vet Dr Glossop in Wales also noted cattle TB down by 3,000 reactors from 9,000 in last year, but due to annual testing, nothing to do with vaccinating a few badgers in the study area.
 
Tragic that the cattle vaccine with DIVA test to distinguish TB from vaccinated cows has been available nearly 15 years.
 
Defra VLA vets got it wrong with trials abroad, so all to do again, taking another ten years. We should simply go ahead with whole county trials on the clear understanding any trial herds would not be eligible for export.
by M Hancox
Stroud
 
becky
MP BILL Wiggin has hit out at the European Union for handicapping the UK in its battle against TB in cattle. He is North Herefordshire's MP and runs a small herd of Hereford cattle at his farm near Ledbury.
 
He said: “My preference would be to use a cattle vaccine, but the European Union is preventing us from doing that," said Mr Wiggin, who is North Herefordshire's MP and runs a small herd of Hereford cattle at his farm near Ledbury.
 
He was speaking after a statement on the Government’s strategy for TB and its assessment of the recent badger culls.
Currently cattle are skin tested for TB, but Mr Wiggin claimed the skin test is "clearly failing".
 
He added: "The Government is consulting on a risk-based trading strategy which is completely flawed because it is based on the skin test, and the electronic device that Nottingham Trent university is working on is supposed to be three years away.
 
"What can the Secretary of State do to save my constituents from the total loss of condemned carcases and having their time wasted on futile consultations, all because we do not have a proper skin test?”
 
Info from: www.droitwichadvertiser.co.uk/news/11143499._/
 
becky
Plans to roll out the controversial badger cull pilots nationwide across 10 other areas of England have been dropped after a damning independent report found the shoots had not been sufficiently effective or humane.
 
However the two pilot culls, in Gloucestershire and Somerset, will continue with improvements recommended by the independent expert panel (IEP), including more and better trained marksmen.
 
The culls, aimed at curbing the rise of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle, were dismissed by senior scientists as "mindless" before they started and have provoked huge public opposition since, as well as seeing ministers lose a vote in the House of Commons. The night-time shoots failed to kill enough badgers in the allotted time, which scientists warned could actually see escaping badgers increase TB in cattle.
 
Opponents of the cull have argued vaccination of badgers and cattle is a better strategy. The government is now proposing a scheme for badger vaccination projects around the edge of the most badly affected parts of the country, in an attempt to create a buffer zone of TB immunity to stop the disease spreading further. Large-scale field trials of cattle vaccines were being designed, but, typically, we are still apparently many years away from being able to vaccinate our cattle against bTB.
 
Opponents, including the leader of a landmark decade-long trial of badger culling, have also argued that stricter testing and controls on cattle movements are the key to cutting TB. In Wales, where a planned badger cull was abandoned, the number of cattle slaughtered has fell from 11,671 in 2009 to 6,102 in 2013, a 48% drop, following more stringent testing. The number of cattle slaughtered in Great Britain, fell by 15% in 2013, following some new controls being introduced in England.
 
Info from: www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/03/badger-cull-owen-paterson-cancels-national-roll-out-cattle-tb
 
becky
Plans to roll out the controversial badger cull pilots nationwide across 10 other areas of England have been dropped after a damning independent report found the shoots had not been sufficiently effective or humane.
 
However the two pilot culls, in Gloucestershire and Somerset, will continue with improvements recommended by the independent expert panel (IEP), including more and better trained marksmen.
 
The culls, aimed at curbing the rise of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle, were dismissed by senior scientists as "mindless" before they started and have provoked huge public opposition since, as well as seeing ministers lose a vote in the House of Commons. The night-time shoots failed to kill enough badgers in the allotted time, which scientists warned could actually see escaping badgers increase TB in cattle.
 
Opponents of the cull have argued vaccination of badgers and cattle is a better strategy. The government is now proposing a scheme for badger vaccination projects around the edge of the most badly affected parts of the country, in an attempt to create a buffer zone of TB immunity to stop the disease spreading further. Large-scale field trials of cattle vaccines were being designed, but, typically, we are still apparently many years away from being able to vaccinate our cattle against bTB.
 
Opponents, including the leader of a landmark decade-long trial of badger culling, have also argued that stricter testing and controls on cattle movements are the key to cutting TB. In Wales, where a planned badger cull was abandoned, the number of cattle slaughtered has fell from 11,671 in 2009 to 6,102 in 2013, a 48% drop, following more stringent testing. The number of cattle slaughtered in Great Britain, fell by 15% in 2013, following some new controls being introduced in England.
 
Info from: www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/03/badger-cull-owen-paterson-cancels-national-roll-out-cattle-tb
 
becky
Question asked in Parliament - just what have they been doing during the last decades ... always ten years ... and no mention of the imminent trials planned ....
 
 
Mr Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) (Con):
Will my right hon. Friend update the House on the development of vaccines for badgers and, indeed, cattle?
 
Mr Paterson:
I raised the issue with Commissioner Borg on my first day back, a week last Monday. We are pressing on with the development of a cattle vaccine but, sadly, it will take some years: we have to develop a vaccine that is valid and works; we have to develop a DIVA test to differentiate between vaccinated cattle and diseased cattle; and we then have to get a legal process. I am afraid that that is going to take at least 10 years.
 
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/commons/todays-commons-debates/read/unknown/7/
 
becky
Long overdue progress? AgriWales (http://agriwales.co.uk/blog/21-from-agriwales/413-cattle-tb-vaccination-could-be-deployed-on-uk-basis) has reported that DEFRA has indicated it is open to the possibility of allowing a cattle vaccine to be used in the UK as soon as it is available on the basis that vaccinated animals could only be traded domestically.
 
The provisional timetable for approving a cattle vaccine and changing EU legislation to allow vaccinated cattle to be traded within the EU is 10 years. But Defra official Stephen Cane told a conference on TB vaccination, staged by the Zoological Society of London on Thursday, the option could be there to fast-track availability in the UK.
 
The European Commission is open to the prospect of the UK, or parts of it, going it alone once the vaccine is approved. The condition would be that vaccinated cattle could only be traded domestically until new legislation is put in place allowing EU trade in these animals. Defra and the Welsh Government are preparing for large-scale field trials of the BCG cattle vaccine that could begin in Englabd and Wales as early as next year.
The trials to test the efficacy and safety of the vaccine when used at the field scale are expected to last for up to five years and Mr Cane said they could cost ‘tens of millions of pounds’ and ‘involve tens of thousands of cattle’.
 
Defra and the Welsh Government are currently tendering for a delivery partner for the project and work is underway to generate the evidence it needs to secure an ‘animal test certificate’ from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) in order to proceed.
 
 
Trials of the BCG cattle vaccine in Ethiopia and Mexico have indicated that the protective effect of vaccination in cattle is between 56 and 68%. Mr Cane acknowledged the ‘understandable frustration’ that the BCG vaccine cannot be used now to help protect cattle against the disease. But he said it was ‘not good enough to rely on trials in other parts of the world’. It is vital, he told the conference, that trials take place under UK conditions ‘to be sure that vaccination can be used responsibly, safely and effectively and doesn’t pose any risk to public health, the environment and animal welfare’.
 
If the trials go well, marketing authorisation will then be sought. But even if this was granted after, say five to six years, cattle vaccination would still not be permitted at EU level, as the vaccine interferes with the skin test, making it difficult to differentiate between animals that have been vaccinated and those that have tested positive.
 
A so-called DIVA test to Differentiate Infected from Vaccinated Animals needs to be developed for use alongside the vaccine. The conference also heard from Cath Rees, of the University of Nottingham, about parallel research, still at an ‘early stage, to develop a test to detect live bovine TB ells in blood samples to form the basis of a DIVA test.
 
This DIVA test would need to be validated for use alongside the BCG vaccine and only then could changes to EU legislation be made to permit trade of vaccinated animals within the EU. But Mr Cane believes UK farmers might not have wait that long to vaccinate. He was asked by Simon Brenman, of the South West Wildlife Trust, about possible scope to vaccinate cattle as soon as the vaccine becomes available and put a stamp in passports to specify that they can only be traded domestically.
 
Intra-union trade
Mr Cane highlighted comments in Mr Borg’s letter suggesting initial rules on allowing cattle vaccines would probably ‘not allow vaccinated animals to enter intra-Union trade’. But he said the letter suggested it could be used ‘domestically’.
 
Mr Cane said: “I think there is an acknowledgement there (from the European Commission), for us to be able to deploy vaccines when they are ready, rather than when the legislation is in place. We could be talking about use of the cattle vaccine in England and perhaps beyond,” he said.
He stressed, however, that it was too early in the development of the vaccine to have these discussions with the Commission.
 
“It is too soon to that at the moment, given that we have to be able to show the vaccine is safe, effective and so on. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and pre-empt the trials. But I think there is a basis there for that discussion with the Commission,” he said.
 
Any move to vaccinate cattle in a way that restricts EU trade could prove controversial within the UK farming industry, although on the section of its website discussing cattle vaccination Defra stresses that the ‘export market for live cattle is relatively small’.
 
becky
Comment from BH
 
When is bTB a ghastly disease? When you're paid EUR 31.2 million to test & cull cattle instead of vaccinating them!
 
becky
Wales’ commitment to eradicating Bovine TB recognised by Europe (http://wales.gov.uk/newsroom/environmentandcountryside/2013/131219tb/?lang=en).
 
The EU has approved the Wales TB Eradication Plan 2014 which means that Wales will receive a share of the provisional 31m Euros awarded to the UK to help it stamp out the disease.
 
The 2014 Plan sets out TB eradication policies that will be implemented during the year and builds on measures contained in the 2013 Plan and on Strategic Framework for Bovine TB Eradication in Wales.
 
It outlines the work underway as part of the Intensive Action Area badger vaccination project, the recently announced Badger Vaccination Grant , Cymorth TB Pilot and the review of TB compensation arrangements in Wales. It also includes commitments to strengthen cattle control measures in place through the continual monitoring of the remaining Pre-Movement Testing exemptions.
 
Now badgers are being vaccinated isn't it about time cattle this is an option for cattle too?
 
becky
'Scientific Opinion on field trials for bovine tuberculosis vaccination' (http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3475.htm)
 
Type: Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from: European Commission
Question number: EFSA-Q-2013-00241
Adopted: 27 November 2013
Published: 11 December 2013
 
Abstract
The opinion provides advice relating to the design of field trials to test the performance of a vaccine for bovine tuberculosis (bTB), along with a test to Detect Infected among Vaccinated Animals (DIVA). The objective of cattle vaccination is to use the vaccine in combination with presently applied control measures within the EU as an aid towards bTB eradication. The ideal field trials for the DIVA test will follow the OIE guidelines for test validation. Any deviations from the ideal trial design in relation to DIVA test performance should be justified, and the bias that may subsequently be introduced should be accounted for. The ideal field trial design for vaccination performance should implement a double-blind randomised test scenario, and allow for known risk factors in the field situation. Any deviations from the ideal trial design in relation to vaccine performance should also be justified and bias that may subsequently be introduced should be accounted for. Relevant risk factors and possible confounders that should be taken into consideration in the design of field trials are described in this opinion. The safety of a candidate vaccine is guaranteed in the registration of a vaccine medication by a competent authority. The field trials will need to fulfil these requirements to prove that the use of this vaccine in the field is safe for both public health and the environment. Some additional remarks regarding the safety of this specific vaccine are included in this opinion.
 
© European Food Safety Authority, 2013
 
RECOMMENDATIONS
A simulation analysis of potential trial results should be performed prior to the start of the trials to ensure that sufficient data are collected during the trials, appropriate to the analytical methods to be used. There is also a need to ensure that the data required for test validation and vaccine performance can indeed be obtained, and that the DIVA test and BCG vaccine performs according to expectations based on the laboratory experiments, while taking account of the many factors that may generate additional variation in the field.
 
DIVA test performance should be analysed as early as possible in the trials, while continuing to generate more data for analysis of vaccine performance in greater detail. Once the results from test validation are known, the analysis for the power of the field trials for vaccine performance can be repeated, using the updated results. The use of the tuberculin skin test should be avoided if possible as its use would limit the ability to double-blind during the field trials.
 
Matched-pairing of herds should be considered if herd or region is included as the unit of
interest, to deal with the confounding effect of wildlife exposure.
 
For all animals included in the trials, a record of all possible confounding factors during the trial period should be collated, to allow for optimal analysis of the field trial data and to obtain maximal results for the test and vaccine validation.
 
Practical measures should be put in place to guarantee that vaccinated animals cannot move out of the trial area or out of the country.
 
See also http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/3475.pdf

 
becky
New research could lead to "revolution" in bovine TB control
 
8:19am Wednesday 4th December 2013 in News
A collaborative project between academics in the UK and India aims to develop a revolutionary new control strategy for bovine tuberculosis (TB), with global benefits for human and animal health.
 
Bovine TB is a major problem in both the developed and developing world. As well as posing a risk to human health, the infection is responsible for huge economic losses in livestock farming, costing the GB taxpayer alone around £100m a year.
 
In the UK, there is a compulsory bovine TB screening and slaughter programme for cattle, but despite the fact that the BCG vaccination has proven effective in protecting cattle against the disease, it is against the law to vaccinate herds because the BCG interferes with the skin test currently used to detect the infection (giving a positive result whether an animal has been vaccinated against, or is infected with, TB.)
 
In India, the problem of zoonotic human TB is compounded by the fact that almost 70% of milk sold is processed by the unorganised sector where hygienic practices are not guaranteed. Bovine TB screening and control is also ineffective due to unrestricted animal movements and for socio-economic and cultural reasons.
 
Johnjoe McFadden, Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey, is leading this three-year project which aims to develop a cheaper diagnostic test for bovine TB and a vaccine that could be used alongside it. The project could revolutionise the control of bovine TB, with huge benefits to the economy, as well as livestock and human health - particularly in India.
 
The team is seeking to delete some of the antigens in the BCG to develop a minus strain and replace the existing skin test (which detects all of the antigens TB produces) with one that detects only a limited number of antigens, those eliminated from the minus strain BCG. This means that the test would only show a positive result if infection with the TB bacillus was detected. The research will focus on identifying which genes to knock out from the BCG - to ensure that any knock-out genes do not impact the effectiveness of the BCG - and designing the diagnostic.
 
Professor McFadden comments: "While other labs are looking for BCG plus strains, we are doing the opposite and looking at minus strains to make the vaccine more compatible with affordable diagnostics.
 
"If a suitable new vaccine and diagnostic test can be developed for use in India, it could potentially be transferred to the UK (subject to relevant legislation changes) or even translated for use in humans, avoiding the need for an X-ray to confirm diagnosis following a positive test for TB.
 
Info from: www.smallholder.co.uk/news/10853245.New_research_could_lead_to__revolution__in_bovine_TB_control/
 
becky
Grants available to support privately delivered badger vaccination in Wales. First application window will run from 13 December 2013 and successful applicants will be able to begin vaccinating by May 2014. Subject to demand the window may be extended. For more info: www.wales.gov.uk/bovinetb
 
The grant will run until 2019 and applies to areas outside the Intensive Action Area (where a vaccination programme is already being undertaken, funded by the Welsh Assembly).
 
becky
Year 1 Report on vaccination project in Wales:
 
Vaccinating badgers in Wales:
 
http://wales.gov.uk/docs/drah/publications/130129iaareport2012en.pdf
 
becky
Article in November 2013 issue of Wales Farmer reports that large scale cattle bTB vaccination trials could start in Wales as early as next year. The Welsh Government is preparing to trial the BCG vaccine over the next five years to test for effectiveness and safety. However, a cost benefit analysis is required to convince Assembly members that the expenditure involved is justified.
 
It is understood that Defra is planning a similar trial in England.
 
The vaccinated animals would be traded only in the UK.
 
Common sense may be prevailing at last!
 
becky
On 15 October, 2013 the Morecambe & Lunesdale MP, David Morris, led a Westminster Hall debate calling for the vaccination of badgers.
 
David Morris MP is currently working with Team Badger which is offering to fund a vaccination programme and will be recruiting volunteers to administer the vaccine. This will offer a cheaper and more humane alternative to the cull, David Morris hopes that DEFRA will adopt this approach.
 
Speaking from Westminster David Morris MP said:
 
“I will be asking DEFRA to consider Team Badger’s proposal of the community vaccinating badgers.”
 
“ This is a more human and less expensive alternative to the cull and I will be keen to hear the Minister’s thoughts during the debate.'
 
The debate can be read at: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2013-10-16a.306.0 or at https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=685496568127466

 
becky
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - Third Special Report
Vaccination against bovine TB: Government Response to the Committee's Second Report of Session 2013-14 now available at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmenvfru/705/70502.htm
 
becky
A bovine tuberculosis (TB) vaccination trial for badgers has been launched across 550 acres of tenant farmland in south Devon by the Sharpham Sharpham Trust, an environmental charity that manages the land, does not support culling and has instead chosen to roll out the scheme over the next three years.
 
The estate, based at Sharpham House outside Ashprington, Totnes, is working with one of its tenants, Ambios Ltd, to run the £15,000 project.
 
Simon Roper from Ambios Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation, said the programme was set to begin next month.
 
Info from: http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Trust-launches-badger-vaccine-trial-estate/story-19885289-detail/story.html?dm_i=1NFN,1VTUL,906LDO,6R787,1#!
 
becky
According to a recent report in the Farmers Guardian (http://m.farmersguardian.com/59202.article?mobilesite=enabled)
DEFRA has indicated it is open to the possibility of allowing a cattle vaccine to be used in the UK as soon as it is available on the basis that vaccinated animals could only be traded domestically.
 
The provisional timetable for approving a cattle vaccine and changing EU legislation to allow vaccinated cattle to be traded within the EU is 10 years. But Defra official Stephen Cane told a conference on TB vaccination, staged by the Zoological Society of London on Thursday, the option could be there to fast-track availability in the UK.
 
The European Commission is open to the prospect of the UK, or parts of it, going it alone once the vaccine is approved. The condition would be that vaccinated cattle could only be traded domestically until new legislation is put in place allowing EU trade in these animals.
Defra and the Welsh Government are preparing for large-scale field trials of the BCG cattle vaccine that could begin in Englabd and Wales as early as next year.
 
The trials to test the efficacy and safety of the vaccine when used at the field scale are expected to last for up to five years and Mr Cane said they could cost ‘tens of millions of pounds’ and ‘involve tens of thousands of cattle’.
 
Defra and the Welsh Government are currently tendering for a delivery partner for the project and work is underway to generate the evidence it needs to secure an ‘animal test certificate’ from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) in order to proceed.
 
Mr Cane said there would also need to be a cost-benefit analysis to satisfy Ministers that such expenditure can be justified over the coming years.
 
UK conditions
Trials of the BCG cattle vaccine in Ethiopia and Mexico have indicated that the protective effect of vaccination in cattle is between 56 and 68%.
Mr Cane acknowledged the ‘understandable frustration’ that the BCG vaccine cannot be used now to help protect cattle against the disease.
But he said it was ‘not good enough to rely on trials in other parts of the world’. It is vital, he told the conference, that trials take place under UK conditions ‘to be sure that vaccination can be used responsibly, safely and effectively and doesn’t pose any risk to public health, the environment and animal welfare’.
 
If the trials go well, marketing authorisation will then be sought. But even if this was granted after, say five to six years, cattle vaccination would still not be permitted at EU level, as the vaccine interferes with the skin test, making it difficult to differentiate between animals that have been vaccinated and those that have tested positive.
 
A so-called DIVA test to Differentiate Infected from Vaccinated Animals needs to be developed for use alongside the vaccine. The conference also heard from Cath Rees, of the University of Nottingham, about parallel research, still at an ‘early stage, to develop a test to detect live bovine TB ells in blood samples to form the basis of a DIVA test.
 
This DIVA test would need to be validated for use alongside the BCG vaccine and only then could changes to EU legislation be made to permit trade of vaccinated animals within the EU.
 
Earlier this year, EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg laid out a 5-step timetable for cattle vaccination, with a tentative end-date of 2023 (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/183229/bovinetb-letter-paterson.pdf).
But Mr Cane believes UK farmers might not have wait that long to vaccinate. He was asked by Simon Brenman, of the South West Wildlife Trust, about possible scope to vaccinate cattle as soon as the vaccine becomes available and put a stamp in passports to specify that they can only be traded domestically.
 
Intra-union trade
Mr Cane highlighted comments in Mr Borg’s letter suggesting initial rules on allowing cattle vaccines would probably ‘not allow vaccinated animals to enter intra-Union trade’. But he said the letter suggested it could be used ‘domestically’.
 
Mr Cane said: “I think there is an acknowledgement there (from the European Commission), for us to be able to deploy vaccines when they are ready, rather than when the legislation is in place. We could be talking about use of the cattle vaccine in England and perhaps beyond,” he said.
 
He stressed, however, that it was too early in the development of the vaccine to have these discussions with the Commission.  
“It is too soon to that at the moment, given that we have to be able to show the vaccine is safe, effective and so on. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and pre-empt the trials. But I think there is a basis there for that discussion with the Commission,” he said.
 
Citing the conclusions of a cattle TB vaccination workshop held in Cardiff last December, he said the policy has a ‘potentially valuable role to play in the bovine TB control programmes of Wales and England’ but that it is ‘no panacea’ and ‘can never be more than one component of a control programme’.
 
“The continuing presence of a reservoir of infection external to the cattle population (in wildlife) imposes a constraint on what the vaccination of cattle can achieve,” he said.
 
Any move to vaccinate cattle in a way that restricts EU trade could prove controversial within the UK farming industry, although on the section of its website discussing cattle vaccination Defra stresses that the ‘export market for live cattle is relatively small’.

 
becky
Email from J 10/09/13 says: I also think that it is a VERY valid point that milk is pasteurised, so therefore there is no threat to consumers of contracting TB through drinking it (and, as we know, MANY British consumers (probably in the hundreds of thousands) will have drunk milk from TB-infected cows in the past few years). So, as long as milk is pasteurised it should – theoretically – not be an issue.'
 
(Note: we know of farmers that drink their own milk raw, even from herds which have had reactors).
 
becky
What would happen if Britain unilaterally implemented mass vaccination of cattle and voluntarily stopped trade with the EU until the disease was under control. Interestingly, Britain actually imports more beef that it exports currently. In very simplistic terms, Britain could end the importation of beef products and be self-sufficient easily. However Britain exports over 3 and half times as much milk as it imports. In other words, a self-imposed ban on exports would leave a huge surplus. The risk of bTB from milk, however, is very low as most milk is pasteurised. Perhaps it could be exported to countries outside the EU?
 
Statistics from: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/agriculture-in-the-united-kingdom
 
becky
Vaccination in the Control of Bovine TB
 
The Institute of Zoology has organised a workshop for 3 Oct 2013 – 10:00 am - 5:00 pm to discuss cattle vaccination for bovine TB.
 
Programmes for controlling Bovine TB in the UK and abroad have inevitably led to increased interest in vaccines for cattle and wildlife. The renewed interest has been accompanied by myths and misunderstanding about the efficacy and practical application of vaccination at a population level.
 
This one-day event, with speakers who are leading experts from academic, government and charitable organisations, will explore the principles behind vaccination and practical use in the field.
 
Principal topics will include:
 
How vaccines work at the individual and population levels.
Recent uses of vaccination for disease control and elimination in wild and domestic animals.
Practical low cost deployment of injected badger vaccination.
Development of oral badger vaccines.
Current status and prospects for cattle vaccination against Bovine TB.
 
Followed by discussion and debate with a panel drawn from the main speakers and other experts.
 
 
Who should attend:
 
Politicians, policy advisers, farming and food industry representatives, conservationists, vets, and academics involved or interested in the control of Bovine TB in livestock and wildlife.
 
Registration:
 
Full rate £40
ZSL Fellows and students £20
(Please bring your ZSL membership card or student card to the event)
 
Buffet lunch and refreshments are included in the registration fee.
 
Registration deadline 26 September 2013
 
For more information about this event, to download the full programme and to register visit http://www.zsl.org/science/events/vaccination-in-the-control-of-bovine-tb,773,EV.html
 
becky
A reminder of the latest re cattle vaccination from the EU can be found in the Jan 13 letter at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/183229/bovinetb-letter-paterson.pdf
 
becky
The Sunday Times (/www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Environment/article1310810.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2013_09_07) has reported that Christl Donnelly, professor of statistical epidemiology at Imperial College London, has warned that the sheer scale of the area where bTB is now endemic, covering most of southwest England, is so great that halting the disease by culling cattle and badgers, the key elements of the government’s strategy, was unlikely to succeed.
 
Donnelly worked on the government’s 1990s badger culling research project, which concluded that about half the cattle infected with bTB in badly affected areas were getting it from badgers. But predictions based on that study suggest that wiping out 70% of badgers in such zones would reduce infection rates by only 16%.
 
We need to be able to vaccinate cattle.
 
becky
Interesting article today by the BBC at www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23991716 estimating that the police costs alone re the current badger culling estimated at £2m in each area over the four years they are due to run - is expected to eclipse the cost of the actual culls and the government is STILL considering rolling out culling to many other parts of the UK from next year!
 
There is even dispute among different experts over whether the culling trials will have any impact on the spread of TB in cattle.
 
"As far as badger culling is concerned it has nothing to offer in terms of controlling TB in cattle, and could indeed make the situation worse". That was the emphatic, and damning, conclusion reached by Professor John Bourne, the man charged with assessing the biggest and most comprehensive scientific experiment ever conducted in the British countryside - the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, or RBCT, in June 2007.
 
Devised by Sir John, now Lord, Krebs in 1996, the RBCT involved the slaughter of thousands of badgers between 1997 and 2007 at a cost of some £50 million. who designed a £50m scientific study into the effects of culling. He is adamant badger culling would not have a significant impact in the long run, saying it smacks of fitting the facts to the answer you want to achieve in the first place. "I have to say I've not found any scientists who are experts in population biology or the distribution of infectious disease in wildlife who think that culling is a good idea. People seem to have cherry picked certain results to try and get the argument they want."
 
Just as we have always predicted - culling badgers (and cattle) makes no sense when a vaccination IS available for cattle. It just cannot be used as Defra has been so inefficient at dealing with the necessary implications under EU legislations.
 
becky
For some years now a vaccine (Bacillus Calmette–Guérin ) to help prevent bTB has been available for cattle but it cannot be currently used legally because it interferes with the current testing regime. Defra has done little to expedite its use, despite the development of the DIVA test which would enable it to be used alongside the existing (unreliable) test. At long last Defra has started the process of choosing a delivery partner to assist with the field trials to determine the performance of the vaccine and DIVA test under UK conditions.
 
https://twitter.com/Rethinkbtb/status/374483020666773504/photo/1
 
becky
In the Bovine TB Summer 2013 issue of Gwlad it refers to a visit to Ethiopia by the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales who witnessed first hand a project to study the effectiveness of the BCG vaccine in calves exposed to adult cattle infected with bTB. Efficacy of the BCG vaccine under these conditions was between 60 and 70%.
 
The same article also referred to the workshop arranged in Wales in December 2012 which concluded that the BCG (Bacile Calmette-Guerin) vaccine is the most appropriate vaccine for cattle and that it needed to be trialed in the UK. It mentions correspondence with the EU which has identified some key matters which must be addressed in order to pursue this approach and the preliminary work is apparently now in progress (about time, this should have been done years ago!). The aim is to provide evidence to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate to support an application for an Animal Test Certificate, to enable the vaccine to be used under controlled conditions, to study its effectiveness in the field.
 
http://wales.gov.uk/docs/drah/publications/130715gwladbovinetbjuly2013en.pdf

 

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