The government has announced that its cattle vaccination project has reached an important new phase.
The new phase will assess the safety and performance of the cattle vaccine and skin test for TB.
The field trials are taking place on commercial livestock farms across the country and are due to be completed in 2023.
During the next 12 months, at least 300 animals across several herds in the LRA (Low Risk Area) of England, and the LTBA (Low TB Area) of Wales, will be given the CattleBCG vaccine in on-farm conditions for the first time in the UK.
They will be tested for bTB with a breakthrough new skin test that, unlike the current test, can Detect Infected among Vaccinated Animals (DIVA).
A further minimum of 300 unvaccinated animals will act as a control as the ground-breaking project moves on to ‘phase two’, in which the safety of both the CattleBCG vaccine and the skin test will be assessed together.
“Farmers will now be looking for clarity on the timeline and delivery of the vaccine. Quick delivery is imperative if we are to maintain the good progress of the eradication strategy to date.”
NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw
Timelines and delivery key to success
NFU members can read more on the second phase of the vaccine development in the next issue of British Farmer & Grower, due to land on your door steps from 9 February.
NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw said: “Research and development is a crucial part of the bovine TB eradication strategy, and the development of a vaccine and a new skin test will provide many farmers with some hope that we are on the road to a TB free England.
“While field trials progress, farmers will now be looking for clarity on the timeline and delivery of the vaccine, as well as a better understanding of how it will work as it’s essential that it operates as part of a wider suite of measures.
“There remain big questions about how soon a deployable vaccine will be available, as quick delivery is imperative if we are to maintain the good progress of the eradication strategy to date.”