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?
16 Feb 2013, 8:11 AM
I recently wrote a letter to our local MP (Simon Hart) to ask him what can be done to ease the pressures on ordinary farmers resulting from the intense bTB problem that exists in West Wales.
He wrote to Owen Patterson, the Minister, who passed it onto David Heath MP, who wrote back with the predictable response, which is that cattle vaccination is forbidden in EU member states.
It seems to me that whether you write to, there seems little attention paid to this flawed legislation and how it can be changed.
I can understand why live exports could be banned, but in my view for member states of the EU to ban meat and dairy products because we decided to vaccinate is just unreasonable. It's as if this legislation is written in stone and cannot be changed. It's the immovable object which is messing up so many lives.
Can anyone tell me how we can change this law, which is unfit for purpose.
11 Feb 2013, 6:51 PM
Smallholder reported the following (http://www.smallholder.co.uk/news/10219743.No_bovine_TB_vaccine_for_ten_years/ 11/02/13):
The European Commission has told Defra that a cattle vaccine for bovine TB (bTB) is unlikely to be commercially available until 2023.
In a recent letter to Defra Secretary Owen Paterson, EU health Commissioner Tonio Borg said vaccination against bTB is ‘explicitly forbidden’ in EU legislation on disease control and in ‘intra-Union trade legislation’.
He said the main reason for the ban was, due to the ‘suboptimal protection’ from cattle vaccines, the risk that vaccinated animals may become infected but could not be distinguished from uninfected vaccinated animals because vaccination ‘interferes’ with the TB skin test. “This would jeopardise current bTB control and eradication policy,” he said.
30 Jan 2013, 10:15 AM
The 'Bovine TB Eradication Programme IAA Badger Vaccination Project Year 1 Report' by the Welsh Assembly has just been published and can be read in full at:
Of course many will ask the question - 'If badgers can be vaccinated, why can't we vaccinated our cattle?'
The conclusions of the report are below:
The Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer considers that the first year of this project was successful in meeting the objective to trap and vaccinate as many badgers as possible within the IAA. The confirmed number of badgers caught and vaccinated is 1424, which was achieved without incident or injury during one of the wettest summers on record. Solid project management and the dedication of the entire team contributed to this outcome.
This year's success depended on the co-operation of landowners and occupiers granting access to land to set traps and vaccinate captured badgers.
Round 9 which was undertaken in November, covered a smaller area than previous rounds and resulted in proportionally fewer badgers being trapped. The lower trapping rate is likely to be due to the extremely poor weather conditions experienced during November and the fact that badgers become less active during winter months.
The variance in capture rates across rounds may be due to several contributing factors, including varying badger density, time of year and size of areas trapped.
During 2012, the project delivered badger vaccination in areas that had been surveyed in 2010. It is intended to expand the project where possible into previously un-surveyed areas to further increase coverage in future years. Increasing the duration of a cycle of work and increasing the number of field operatives will also be considered to ensure vaccination can be delivered over a wider area.
It is difficult to make inferences based on a single year’s data, but as the project progresses there should be increased scope to interrogate the dataset and reach meaningful conclusions.
27 Jan 2013, 12:59 PM
Vaccination reduces the risk of unvaccinated badger cubs testing tuberculosis positive (says report published December 12, 2012).
New evidence from a four-year field study has shown that BCG vaccination reduces the risk of tuberculosis infection in unvaccinated badger cubs in vaccinated groups, as well as in badgers that received the vaccine.
The research, published today in the journal PLOS ONE provides the strongest evidence to date that unvaccinated badger cubs can be indirectly protected from TB infection when some of the badgers in their social group are vaccinated. By studying rates of new cases of TB in cubs in vaccinated social groups, researchers have shown that the risk of non-vaccinated cubs testing positive was reduced by almost 80 per cent when more than a third of badgers in their group had been vaccinated. The results come from a controlled clinical field trial of badger vaccination, conducted by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), in an area in Gloucestershire where TB is highly prevalent in the badger population.
Dr Steve Carter of Fera and lead author of the latest research said: "One concern about the effectiveness of badger vaccination is that new-born cubs might acquire TB before they first emerge above ground. As the vaccine is not expected to benefit infected individuals it has been suggested that by the time cubs emerge and are available for vaccination they might have already been exposed to TB. Therefore, vaccination for them may be too late. This study indicates that vaccination of badgers above ground can indirectly protect unvaccinated cubs before they emerge from the sett".
RethinkBtb is a group (www.rethinkbtb.org) promoting a radical new approach to bovine tb management, including cattle vaccination.
Last September they co hosted a meeting to promote cattle vaccination: attendees included farmers,veterinarians wildlife organisations and political representatives.
In January they submitted evidence to the EFRA Parliamentary Committee looking at badger and cattle Vaccination. Evidence submitted cannot be made public until after the EFRA Committee has completed its investigation, however RethinkBtb's submission focused on cattle vaccination and DEFRA's lack of strategic planning in introducing this essential tool to help control Btb. The group is also active on Facebook and Twitter communicating and debating their ideas with farmers,vets, politicians, environmentalist, journalists, animal welfare groups and many individuals interested in bovine tb.
There is a section on the 'Future possible use of vaccine in cattle'. Whilst it indicates some progress it seems it is STILL years away - one wonders why such proposal for trials wasn't undertaken years ago - in fact it is highly likely it is only being seriously considered now because of the active campaigning of those who are so against wildlife culling.
The following extractis typical of delaying tactics. Some odd comments when one considers that the BCG vaccine is one of the longest used and safest vaccine - no such attention given to other vaccines that are brought in very quickly with less knowledge and experience of use - and also consider the continued and often routine use of antibiotics for animals, despite the known consequences of resistance for future and impacts on human health!
"Scientific knowledge on bTB vaccination was reviewed during a recent technical workshop held in Cardiff. The outcome of the workshop clearly indicates that the hypothetical use of the only candidate vaccine (live BCG vaccine) presents still many knowledge gaps, in particular concerning the performance of the vaccine (level and duration of protection, protection from disease or infection), safety (possible shedding of the attenuated live pathogen by vaccinated animals), conditions for use (age of animals, type of herd) and suitability of candidate DIVA test(s)."
13 Jan 2013, 7:24 PM
Friday 11 January 2013 was the deadline for submissions to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee re its inquiry examining the vaccination of badgers and cattle in relation to Bovine TB.
The inquiry is expected to cover the likely timescales and challenges in delivering vaccination programmes, their costs and efficacy, and whether a vaccination programme could be delivered without having a negative effect on UK exports.
The Committee invited evidence from interested parties on TB vaccinations for badgers and cattle. We know that Rethink bTB has made a submission and so have individual farmers.
Submissions were invited on the current injectible badger vaccine programme and the costs, effectiveness and timetable to delivery of:
Oral badger TB vaccine; Cattle TB vaccine; and Diagnostic test for differentiating infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA)
Submissions were also invited on the impact and challenges of vaccination on cattle and cattle product exports.
9 Jan 2013, 6:10 PM
Global Gene Transcriptome Analysis in Vaccinated Cattle Revealed a Dominant Role of IL-22 for Protection against Bovine Tuberculosis. The report can be read in full at www.plospathogens.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.ppat.1003077
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a chronic disease of cattle caused by Mycobacterium bovis, a member of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex group of bacteria. Vaccination of cattle might offer a long-term solution for controlling the disease and priority has been given to the development of a cattle vaccine against bTB. Identification of biomarkers in tuberculosis research remains elusive and the goal is to identify host correlates of protection. We hypothesized that by studying global gene expression we could identify in vitro predictors of protection that could help to facilitate vaccine development. Calves were vaccinated with BCG or with a heterologous BCG prime adenovirally vectored subunit boosting protocol. Protective efficacy was determined after M. bovis challenge. RNA was prepared from PPD-stimulated PBMC prepared from vaccinated-protected, vaccinated-unprotected and unvaccinated control cattle prior to M. bovis challenge and global gene expression determined by RNA-seq. 668 genes were differentially expressed in vaccinated-protected cattle compared with vaccinated-unprotected and unvaccinated control cattle. Cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction was the most significant pathway related to this dataset with IL-22 expression identified as the dominant surrogate of protection besides INF-γ. Finally, the expression of these candidate genes identified by RNA-seq was evaluated by RT-qPCR in an independent set of PBMC samples from BCG vaccinated and unvaccinated calves. This experiment confirmed the importance of IL-22 as predictor of vaccine efficacy.
4 Jan 2013, 6:43 PM
David Davies, MP for Monmouth has posted the following on his site (http://www.david-daviesmp.co.uk/campaigns/badger-cull-and-bovine-tb).
A large number of people have written to me about government proposals for the culling of badgers in England which, as we know, has been delayed until summer 2013.
As there is now a chance for a period of reflection, I want to explore the issue of cattle vaccination. My understanding is that this is outlawed by the EU because they would be unable to distinguish between vaccinated cattle and cattle infected with TB.
I have therefore written a short letter to the UK Environment Secretary, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and the President of the NFU to ask the following:
1) What is the legal position on vaccinating cattle against TB?
2) If it is not legal under EU law, what steps are being taken to amend legislation?
3) What danger if any does bovine TB pose to members of the public who eat meat or drink milk from infected cattle?
4) If there is no danger to the public, then why is it so imperative to take any action at all over bovine TB?
5) Which other countries worldwide have used a cull to control TB and how effective has it been?
Although I support the government position, I would agree with most correspondants that a solution involving vaccination would be far preferable to a cull if it could be made to work.
THE RESPONSE TO HIS QUESTIONS CAN BE ACCESSED AT : www.david-daviesmp.co.uk/sites/www.david-daviesmp.co.uk/files/european_commission.pdf
4 Jan 2013, 6:29 PM
Press release from Badger Trust dated 4 Jan 203.
New advance in work on cattle vaccine
A team of scientists has announced a small but important step in the further development of a vaccine to prevent bovine tuberculosis in cattle . They have identified a ‘biomarker’ using sophisticated molecular technology bringing benefits in helping to predict vaccine efficacy.
David Williams, chairman of the Badger Trust, which strongly supports vaccination of both cattle and badgers, said: “We welcome this refinement in laboratory technique, part of the progress towards the long-awaited goal of an effective cattle vaccine. This discovery represents constant and encouraging movement in molecular studies and techniques, and it follows steady progression elsewhere”.
Mr Williams recalled recent work showing an indirect protective effect in the unvaccinated cubs of vaccinated badgers  and how the presence of liver fluke in cattle interferes with the ability of the commonly-used SICCT ‘tuberculin test’ to ascertain the presence of bTB . Then, just as the Coalition revealed its gross underestimation of badger populations in the proposed ‘pilot’ culling areas of Somerset and Gloucestershire in 2012  two leading scientists spelt out likely consequences of uncertainties in accounting for the proportion of badger populations killed .
Mr Williams added: “This work further emphasises the extreme complexity of bTB in cattle which demands a more sophisticated approach to eradication than shooting badgers, particularly in view of the figures recently presented to Parliament in October 2012 .
“These showed that without any badgers being killed, but with increasingly effective cattle measures, the bTB toll on farm businesses has been declining steadily over the last five years. There has been a 39 per cent fall in new herd incidents since 2008 - from 5,007 to 3,018. Over the same period the number of individual cattle slaughtered was reduced by 44 per cent – from 39,015 to 21,512.
 http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.ppat.1003077 (Research funded by Defra, but it had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript).
More good news about the benefits of vaccination are in the recent (published 12/12/12 in the medical journal PLoS one ) report entitled; 'Vaccination reduces the risk of unvaccinated badger cubs testing tuberculosis ' (http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-12-vaccination-unvaccinated-badger-cubs-tuberculosis.html).
The report summaries a study which has shown a direct beneficial effect of vaccination against bovine TB in individual badgers and an indirect protective effect in un-vaccinated cubs.
The paper reveals that vaccination with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has already been shown to reduce the severity and progression of experimentally-induced TB in captive badgers and a four-year clinical field study among badger social group levels suggested a similar, direct protective effect. Vaccination reduced by 76% the risk of free-living vaccinated badgers testing positive for progressive infection.
In addition the risk of unvaccinated cubs giving positive tests went down significantly as more badgers in each social group were vaccinated. There was an even greater reduction in risk to such cubs - 79% - when more than a third of their social group had been vaccinated. This therefore supports the principle of 'herd' immunity as a result of vaccination.
12 Dec 2012, 5:45 PM
Around 40 of the world's leading experts on cattle vaccination, from as far afield as New Zealand, are in Wales to consider how cattle vaccination could contribute to TB eradication.
The Welsh Government is hosting the two-day workshop in Cardiff this week.
The event will be opened by Minister for Environment John Griffiths, and chaired by Wales's chief vet.
Mr Griffiths said: "I am very pleased to welcome some of the world's leading experts in cattle vaccination to Wales for what I am confident will be a valuable event, and one that will move us closer to our goal of a cattle vaccination strategy for Wales."
The workshop will be opened by the Welsh Government’s Environment Minister, John Griffiths, and chaired by the Wales Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Christianne Glossop.
“In Wales we already have a comprehensive range of measures in place to tackle bovine TB, however we are always looking at how we can improve our approach and are keen to keep pace with scientific advances,” says the Minister.
“I am very pleased to be able welcome some of the world’s leading experts in cattle vaccination to Wales for what I am confident will be a valuable event, and one that will move us closer to our goal of a cattle vaccination strategy for Wales.
“Such a strategy is a high priority for the Welsh Government. We know it is going to take time to get there, and that there are technical and legislative hurdles to be overcome but we are keen to do all we can to accelerate the process and make cattle vaccination a reality in Wales.”
Information from: www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Global-animal-experts-join-welsh-TB-debate/story-17546504-detail/story.html and Farmers Guardian www.farmersguardian.com/home/hot-topics/bovine-tb/experts-gather-to-discuss-bovine-tb-cattle-vaccine/51933.article
6 Dec 2012, 5:23 PM
Farmers Weekly today reported the new DEFRA figures for bTB cases. Michael Ritchie, spokesman for Rethink Bovine TB, described the statistics as a "small change in a catastrophic figure".
"We need to reduce the number of TB cases to zero and the only hope of doing that is for DEFRA to get its act together so that we can vaccinate cattle," he said.
"Farmers cannot go on allowing DEFRA and the EU to seize and slaughter their cattle when we already have a BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guérin) cattle vaccination and a DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals) test ready to licence."
Info from: www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/06/12/2012/136607/Bovine-TB-rates-rise-for-third-year-in-a-row.htm
29 Nov 2012, 6:35 PM
Wales - around 1400 badgers have now been vaccinated. It is part of an ongoing five year programme. If we can vaccinate badgers, why not cattle!
Environment Minister, John Griffiths has announced that the Welsh Government has now vaccinated over 1400 badgers in the Intensive Action Area. He confirmed that the Welsh Government had now completed the first year of its badger vaccination programme which is part of a wider programme of work to eradicate bovine TB from cattle in Wales.
John Griffiths said: “We have now completed the first year of the vaccination project. The field work began in May and comprised eight main work cycles ending in October. A small number of badger setts were also vaccinated during November. Provisional figures indicate that since May we have successfully caught and vaccinated over 1400 badgers in the IAA. Our vaccination programme has enabled Wales to take quick and decisive action to develop a degree of immunity to TB within the badger population in the IAA. We believe that this should reduce the risk of TB transmission from badgers to cattle and contribute to the eradication of bovine TB over time."
Options for expanding the vaccination programme and delivering it in other areas are currently being developed.
John Griffiths added:“The success of the badger vaccination initiative is dependant on staff being granted access to as much land as possible. I would like to thank farmers and landowners for their ongoing co-operation and encourage other partners and stakeholders to consider how they could work with us to increase the number of badgers we can vaccinate in Wales. I will be monitoring the results of vaccination and of our entire eradication programme carefully to ensure we are making good progress towards our ultimate goal of a TB free Wales. I will report further in the New Year.”
19 Nov 2012, 6:27 PM
Blue tongue vaccinations now legal - it did not take long for this to be allowed by EU so why is it taking so long for the BCG to gain approval?
Farmers in England, Wales and Scotland are now able to vaccinate their livestock against Bluetongue using approved vaccines. The regulations came into force on 24 August (England), 24 September (Scotland) and 10th October (Wales). These regulations amend the 2008 ones to implement EU legislation concerning vaccination against Bluetongue.
Since the UK was declared free of Bluetongue on 5 July 2011, vaccination against the disease has been illegal. However, on the basis of a Veterinary Risk Assessment, the new regulations give animal keepers the option to vaccinate their animals aginats Bluetongue using the approved inactivated (killed) vaccines.
The legislation also sets out where compulsory vaccination is required following an outbreak of the disease, or if live vaccine is used, then both a protection zone and a vaccination zone must be declared.
Interestingly voluntary vaccination will not be permitted in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.
Info from Gwlad December 2012 issue
16 Nov 2012, 5:33 PM
Yes, what has happened to the missing DEFRA text and why has it been deleted? I see the Rethink bTB Facebook has the following post.
Removing the following information (posted Feb2012) about progress on OIE international certification of the DIVA test.
"The studies to generate validation data [on the Diva test] in vaccinated cattle are expected to be completed and data analysed by Easter 2012. If it is deemed that no further studies are needed, our plan is to make an application to the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) in summer 2012 for international certification of the test. Providing the OIE is satisfied with the fitness for purpose of the test, the earliest we could have OIE validation and certification would be the end of 2012."
AND replaced it with the following:
"In parallel with developing cattle TB vaccines, AHVLA is also developing a test to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (the so-called DIVA test) . This test, a modification of the current interferon-gamma blood test, can be used alongside the tuberculin skin test in vaccinated animals where necessary, to confirm whether a skin test positive result is caused by vaccination or TB infection"
16 Nov 2012, 5:09 PM
The report at http://envirowatch.eu/Bern%20UK%20Probs%202012.pdf makes some interesting comments on the bovine TB situation in the UK. . The report is titled 'European Wildlife Convention: problems in the United Kingdom in 2012. Implementation of the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats in the United Kingdom'. Details of the author are at http://envirowatch.eu/
Extracts relating to vaccination are below. These are taken from Section 2 'Controlling bovine TB in England. A lack of science and a breach of the Bern Convention'.
"For years, comprehensive improvements to the management of bTB infected cattle has been sluggish, and growing compensation for owners of infected cattle is currently at £60 million per year, with £30 million of public funds spent on testing. One major problem has been introducing the quite simple procedure of quickly separating those cattle testing positive so that the disease is not spread amongst a herd once detected. One way to help reduce this sustainably is by requiring stricter disease control procedures and practical avoidance techniques including movement constraints. The failure to implement these simple procedures has created an environment where science-based solutions become confused because outdated and inadequate management practises in fields and cowsheds form a shaky baseline in the consideration of how to address disease control. "
"The disease management issue is hindered by a European Union ban on vaccination of cattle because of the difficulty in distinguishing vaccinated cattle from those infected with bTB. This ban needs lifting immediately now that it has become possible to do this with a reasonable level of confidence. The increase in bTB can only be tackled by a mix of better government funded cattle management and badger and cattle vaccination programmes. The UK appears to be resisting this, despite the inevitability of its current strategy not working This short term approach is extremely worrying given the apparent insufficiency of current measures and the insecurity of the proposed approach to culling that has a multitude of uncertainties and importantly, risky side-effects.
... and the recommendations include:-
"The Bern Convention/Council of Europe should immediately ask the UK to derogate E.C. controls to enable cattle vaccination against bovine TB, so that a vaccination programme can be started for cattle as a matter of urgency and no later than 2014."
"The European Union must, in collaboration with the OIE – the Organisation Internationale des Epizooties (Paris) suspend immediately its ban on vaccination of cattle against bTB in the UK, (Directive 78/52/EEC) in an immediate trial within the UK (and perhaps elsewhere) to accompany badger vaccination and improved stock management guidelines that will reduce and control the disease in a sustainable manner. The Council of Europe should make recommendations to the OIE on behalf of the UK and other affected Member States."
15 Nov 2012, 6:34 PM
Interestingly the section below on the Defra website was, for some reason, removed on 5th November 2012:
"The studies to generate validation data [on the Diva test] in vaccinated cattle are expected to be completed and data analysed by Easter 2012. If it is deemed that no further studies are needed, our plan is to make an application to the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) in summer 2012 for international certification of the test. Providing the OIE is satisfied with the fitness for purpose of the test, the earliest we could have OIE validation and certification would be the end of 2012." see 'Differential diagnosis of BCG-vaccinated animals from TB-infected animals' section at http://www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/a-z/bovine-tb/vaccination/cattle-vaccination/
15 Nov 2012, 6:30 PM
On the Farmers Weekly website (see link below), a video of Anne McIntosh, chairman of the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, explains why MPs have launched the inquiry examining the vaccination of badgers and cattle in relation to bovine TB.
Two minutes in, talking about cattle vaccine, she mentions the Diva test which she understands "does not exist"! She needs to talk to Defra?
Re the posting on 8th November we urge people to participate in the Government inquiry into bovine TB vaccination (to include both cattle and badgers). We hope you will stress the importance of allowing vaccination as a matter of urgency. With regards to effects on exports - don't forget that we vaccinate cattle for many other reasons and that the meat from reactors and inconclusives often goes into the human food chain.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is asking for all interested parties to submit evidence to them by 11 January 2013.
The committee is also inviting evidence on the impact and challenges of vaccination on cattle and cattle product exports.
Here's the link to the vaccine inquiry info on the Parliament website:
Interesting comment on article at www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/nov/11/alice-roberts-bovine-tb-badgers?commentpage=1#comment-19393508
It is from 'BadgerFriendlyFarmer' 11 November 2012 12:01PM Farmers need the option of a cattle vaccine and Defra needs to tackle the EU to sort this out. The research has already been done with positive conclusions.
A Defra report entitled "Options for Vaccinating Cattle Against Bovine Tuberculosis" produced in 2008 and endorsed by numerous prominent stakeholders, including the NFU, set about modelling various vaccination programs, including the compulsory vaccination of high risk herds in annual testing parishes.
The model showed that this option, funded by the govt, would save up to one fifth of the costs of the current 'test and cull' policy, as follows:
"The model predicts vaccinating cattle in yearly tested parishes would cost around £170 million to £180 million over the period from introduction in 2012 to the end of the modelled period in 2026. It predicts benefits from fewer breakdowns and less routine testing of between £150 million and £250 million, potentially saving up to one fifth of the costs of the current policy measures. The benefits from vaccinating cattle in yearly tested parishes are likely to justify its costs over this period."
The report suggests that certifying vaccinated cattle - eg.stamping their individual passports - would save on resources in terms of the Diva test.
It's time for ministers and others to drop the badger shoot diversion and get on with their jobs.
11 Nov 2012, 9:49 PM
An AgResearch scientist from Hopkirk Institute in Palmerston North, New Zealand, recently won a $100,000 global grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to research a new tuberculosis vaccination method.
Axel Heiser received the Grand Challenges Explorations grant to apply nano-particle technology to vaccinate against both human and bovine TB.
The research project uses PolyBatics, which is a type of nano-particle technology developed by Bernd Rehm at Massey University.
“(Rehm) showed how you could genetically modify bacteria to make little beads inside them which express antigens that work as a vaccine,” Heiser said, according to Fairfax NZ News. “If we can prove our hypothesis that biobeads produced in mycobacteria can be used as a novel type of vaccine against mycobacterial infections, including tuberculosis, we could apply this approach to a whole range of infectious diseases.”
Heiser received funding after submitting an application with his creative idea in one of five critical global health and development areas. The money will be used to try to prove the validity of the technology for developing a TB vaccine. The concept will soon be tested on mice.
“If (the mice are protected), that is ‘proof of principle’ and we would then go into a round of funding for the following year, which can be $1 million,” Heiser said.
Heiser said that a veterinary vaccine was likely to be developed first and that a TB vaccine for humans would require additional time, Fairfax NZ News reports.
MPs have announced an inquiry into bovine TB vaccination - to include both cattle and badgers.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is asking for all interested parties to submit evidence to them by 11 January 2013.
“The inquiry is expected to cover the likely timescales and challenges in delivering vaccination programmes, their costs and efficacy, and whether a vaccination programme could be delivered without having a negative effect on UK exports,” said a statement.
Submissions are invited on the current injectible badger vaccine programme and the costs, and also the effectiveness and timetable to delivery of:
• Oral badger TB vaccine; • Cattle TB vaccine; and • Diagnostic test for differentiating infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA)
The committee is also inviting evidence on the impact and challenges of vaccination on cattle and cattle product exports.
The trial to test whether the BCG vaccine was safe to give to badgers in the wild did not determine the efficacy of tha BCG vaccine. It was not designed to do so. There were no tests to show whether the badgers who were statpak test negative were infected or not - just that they did not have antibody as measured by that test. They may have been infected but not yet have made antibody, or the fall in antibody positivity as compared to a previous year may have been part of annual fluctuations in rates of badger infection and disease with M bovis in that population (their lives are quite short).
The laboratory testing of the vaccine showed no protection against infection of vaccinated badgers (they were careful to be sure the badgers in the lab trial were not previously infected and had time to respond to the BCG vaccine) but the lab trial did show the disease process was modified, less widespread and lower numbers of organism.
If I recall correctly all the vaccinated and infected badgers in the laboratory trial of vaccine did become antibody positive by the statpak test before they were killed for detailed study. So it is possible the vaccination of badgers in the wild had a protective effect for those that aquired infection after vaccination, slowing or even halting the progression of disease (so if they were infected they had not progressed to widespread disease and antibody production) but we do not know the answer to that - the vaccine is known to have this effect in humans too but protection against infection in the first place has never been proved.
2 Nov 2012, 7:00 PM
Email from MG dated 1/11/12 re response he has had from Welsh Assembly.
We believe that cattle vaccination has the potential to make an important contribution to TB eradication in the future. In order to progress consideration of vaccination as part of package of measures aimed at addressing all sources of TB infection we are holding a high level cattle vaccination technical workshop in Cardiff in December. World experts on vaccination strategies have been invited to attend. The aim of the workshop is to identify the options for a vaccination strategy and to ensure we are ready to respond once the technical and legislative hurdles associated with cattle vaccination have been overcome.
The outputs from the workshop will be used to inform wider stakeholder engagement during 2013.