Farms move one step closer to deployable TB vaccine for cattle

Field trials for a cattle vaccine and new skin test for bovine TB have moved to the next phase, the APHA confirmed today (6th February).

The next phase of testing will assess the safety of the CattleBCG vaccine and the safety and performance of the DIVA skin test in vaccinated cattle.

It is hoped the combination of the vaccine and skin test can be deployed in the next few years.

Lab studies have so far indicated that both are safe and that the test performs well under controlled APHA facility environments.

Field trials are taking place on commercial livestock farms across the country and are due to be completed in 2023. Phase 2 will involve at least five farms with 600 animals participating, 300 of which will be vaccinated with CattleBCG, whilst the remaining half will receive a placebo.

Phase 1 of the skin test trials in England began in July 2021 on 10 farms with 524 animals. It was completed in May 2022 and analysis of the results is in progress.

APHA’s lead scientist for TB, Dr Phil Hogarth, said: I am pleased that we have progressed to the next phase of the field trials for a cattle vaccine and DIVA skin test for bovine tuberculosis.

“This next step represents a significant milestone, building upon many years of research, and APHA will continue to be led by science, and work tirelessly in the fight to eradicate this disease.”

In a joint statement, the chief veterinary officers from England, Scotland and Wales said: “Bovine TB represents one of the most difficult animal disease challenges the world faces today. We are making substantial progress in developing an additional tool to help eradicate this disease with the new cattle vaccine and DIVA skin test – and are very grateful to the vets and farmers taking part for their efforts in making this work on the ground.

“If this next phase is successful, this project takes us one step closer to a vaccine to be used in conjunction with other measures to tackle this insidious disease which impacts livestock farmers across the globe.”

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