A vaccine developed specifically for UK strains of caseous lymphadenitis (CLA) could be a step closer following the awarding of extra research cash to the Moredun Research Institute.

The vaccine will be developed using a new technology developed at Moredun which the institute believes will lead to a more effective CLA vaccine being produced compared with those already available in other parts of the world.

To help progress the vaccine Moredun has secured funding from Scottish Enterprise to develop a commercial CLA vaccine, explained Michael Fontaine, inventor and principal investigator for the project. “The new vaccine will be a marker vaccine which means it will not interfere with the diagnosis of the disease in animals when using the diagnostic test previously developed.

“It will also allow farmers and vets to differentiate between animals naturally infected with CLA and those previously vaccinated.”

CLA is a growing problem for sheep farmers worldwide and leads to reduced yields and problems with meat and wool quality. Estimates suggest it costs the Australian sheep industry more than £12m a year, he added.