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?
On Wednesday 6 March the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will hold the fourth evidence session of its inquiry into vaccination of badgers and cattle against bovine TB.
Details of the session are as follows:
Wednesday 6 March, 3.00 pm, Grimond Room, Portcullis House
Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA)
· Professor Glyn Hewinson, Chief Scientist
[This evidence was originally scheduled to take place on 12 February]
More information about the inquiry can be at www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/parli ament-2010/bovine-tb-vaccine/
27 Feb 2013, 12:33 PM
On the 26 February a Parliamentary session explored the extent to which current EU legislation prevents the UK using a cattle BCG vaccine and the implications if it breaches this legislation. It was also supposed to discuss the timetable and likelihood for amending EU legislation to permit the use of cattle vaccination.
Most questions were answered by an EU bureaucrat who thinks the test and cull works (there are many examples to prove it does not work, including the fairly recent one - see www.fwi.co.uk/articles/05/02/2013/137488/tb-skin-test-questioned-after-false-results.htm#.URD1fq2kidE) . He blames movement of animals in the UK and farmers not following the rules but the committee misses the latter point.
Keep watching the last bit (after BTB) as he completely undermines his case on the dangers of BCG at 1726.
23 Feb 2013, 9:09 AM
MPs to take further evidence on bovine TB
On Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 February the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will hold the second and third evidence sessions of its inquiry into vaccination of badgers and cattle against bovine TB.
More information about the inquiry can be found on the Committee’s website: www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/parli ament-2010/bovine-tb-vaccine/
20 Feb 2013, 2:09 PM
Oh, so we are beginning to see the light - actually the powers that be do not really want any change because then, of course, we won't be getting the 30 or so millions of pounds paid to UK by the EU! I assume this would be lost if cattle vaccine was introduced - so, never mind the real consequences to farmers, cattle, wildlife etc - as long as the UK receives this money why would they want to purse the cattle vaccination route and forfeit the EU funding?
19 Feb 2013, 7:31 PM
Here we go again. How do they keep getting away with it - yet again we are told cattle vaccination is years away. We can't even do field trials! We are told decades have been spent trying to find a vaccine yet the BCG vaccine has been available for a very long time and this is the one now being proposed. Why wasn't the preparatory work for field trials not done years ago?
The following article at www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21478830 summaries the informstion.
Cattle TB vaccine 'is years away', MP is told
A West County MP has been told a vaccine for cattle against bovine TB is at least 10 years away. Liberal Democrat MP David Heath said Defra officials are lobbying the EU to try to speed up the approval process.
At present the vaccination of cattle against bovine TB is forbidden under international and EU law.
Mr Heath, who represents the Somerton and Frome constituency said there had been a "very useful dialogue" with the European Union Health Commissioner Tonio Borg.
Mr Heath told the BBC's Inside Out West TV programme: "He's come back with some proposals as to how we could take this forward in an effective way, we're very keen to do that.
"The bad news is that there's a very long timescale. Commissioner Borg estimates that, even if everything goes swimmingly, it will probably take about 10 years before we actually are able to use a vaccine on cattle in this country."
Scientists at the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) in Surrey have been working to find a vaccine for the past 15 years. In 2012 they applied to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) for the licensing of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, the same one used to protect humans, for use in cattle.
Prof Glyn Hewinson, chief scientist at the AHVLA said although BCG is not 100% effective "it does work".
"What we know is it will protect a certain number of animals against acquiring infection," he said.
"It will reduce the infection in a certain percentage of animals, and by doing so we expect it to reduce the transmission of TB from one animal to another."
But even if the VMD grants a licence for BCG to be used in cattle, field trials still need to be held to prove that it works under real farm conditions as well as experimental ones.
And these field trials are blocked from going ahead because of the ban on vaccinating cattle.
The reason for the ban is the skin test currently used to identify cattle with TB cannot tell the difference between infected animals and those vaccinated with BCG. Both infected and vaccinated animals appear to test positive for TB so scientists are now looking at the the DIVA test (Differentiate Infected from Vaccinated Animals) as a way of telling the difference. Prof Hewinson says his team has developed one but this also needs field trials. He said: "At the moment we're in this Catch-22 where it's illegal to vaccinate cattle and yet in order to generate robust data to reassure Europe that our DIVA tests are sensitive enough we need to do field trials."
Prof Hewinson said his scientists will now work on designing the necessary field trials so that a detailed approach can be presented to European officials in the hope of moving forward.
16 Feb 2013, 6:48 PM
Will Wales lead the way re cattle vaccination?
www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Welsh-Government-considers-options-tackling/story-18167183-detail/story. html#axzz2L5ZOu9C0 No mention of vaccination not being possible until 2023 in this article. Story reproduced below.
WALES'S chief veterinary officer has visited Ethiopia to look at vaccinating cattle against TB.
The Welsh Government believes cattle vaccination could contribute to TB eradication, and Dr Christianne Glossop's visit comes as the Government considers all options available for tackling the issue.
Ethiopia has one of the largest cattle populations in the world, and also faces a significant challenge with bovine TB.
Dr Glossop said: "We want to develop a sustainable relationship with Ethiopia. They have practical experience of vaccinating cattle against TB and we have been focussing on TB testing, biosecurity and movement restrictions. There are opportunities for us to both help and learn from each other.
"Considering options for vaccination as part of our eradication plan is a priority for the Welsh Government. We know it is going to take time to get there and that there are hurdles to be overcome but we are keen to do all we can to accelerate the process."
The Welsh Government is currently developing a vaccination strategy
16 Feb 2013, 9:35 AM
Re gllphillips posting below. This website, Rethink bTB and others have campaigned tirelessly for cattle vaccination which Defra, in several formal documents stated would be licensed last year but it would take until 2015 before it could be implemented because of the EU procedures. For, what appears to be no good reason at all, we are now told cattle vaccination will not be available until 2023. This is disgusting. For decades farmers have been assured cattle vaccination would be available but each time a goal is set it is deferred.
Perhaps what is needed is for farmers to get together and demand vaccination but at the moment the NFU, sadly, is not behind cattle vaccination and, instead is concentrating virtually all its efforts on badger culling. It is well recognised that culling will have, at best, only limited effects and could even make the problem worse. Some recent reports now even state that the badger is a spillover host, like the many other mammals that can contract bTB, so if this is correct, this makes culling badgers even more meaningless. With such public opposition against culling it is the poor farmers who bear the brunt of such opposition.
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."