Progress towards a vaccine to protect flocks against Caseous Lymphadenitis (CLA) is highly encouraging, according to Moredun researcher Michael Fontaine.

The disease is identified as the fifth most important threat to the Scottish national flock.

“Recent trials of an experimental CLA vaccine developed here at Moredun have been heartening, with the vaccine proving highly effective in preventing infection.”

Dr Fontaine told Farmers Weekly that the vaccine, developed from an isolate of Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis found in UK flocks, had been 100% successful in preventing infection in one trial group.

As part of the same trial Moredun also undertook trials of a vaccine commercially available outside Europe, but this was less effective.

“The experimental vaccine was probably more successful as it has been developed to protect against strains found here rather than those found elsewhere,” he explained.

As yet no approaches have been made to commercial companies about the possibility of developing the experimental vaccine, but further trials are likely to be undertaken next year, said Dr Fontaine, who worked on the development of a blood test to detect CLA antibodies.

And while scab might have been listed as the number one threat to the health and welfare of Scotland’s national flock, the Institute’s researchers are making only slow progress towards a vaccine to protect against the problem.

Moredun researcher John Huntley said progress was being made, but a commercially available vaccine was still many years away.

“We have identified many of the important allegens involved with scab infection, but have yet to develop a vaccine.

We hope to begin trials soon, possibly early next year, but it will be a number of years until a commercial product is available.”

jonathan.long@rbi.co.uk