Foot and mouth vaccine manufacture is to restart at Pirbright, Surrey, to allow Merial Animal Health, to meet its overseas commitments.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) confirmed it had no objection to the restart of foot and mouth vaccines from stored, inactive antigens, following a VMD re-inspection invited by Merial.

Merial temporarily restarted vaccine production to meet DEFRA’s order for 300,000 doses on 6 August. However, since 8 August, no finished vaccine has been made.

No foot and mouth virus will be made by Merial at Pirbright until a full consultation with DEFRA and the VMD has taken place, according to company spokesman, Bert Burns.

VMD has the responsibility in the UK for inspecting Good Manufacturing Practice, which ensures operations at the Merial site are to UK standards.

Having operated at Pirbright for 15 years, Merial have issued a statement saying that in that time there has never been a breech of bio-security at the site.

“After continuous examination of our systems we have found no evidence that the outbreak in Surrey can be traced to any failure in our bio-security procedures or equipment.

“We are eager to learn the findings of the investigations into the cause of the foot and mouth outbreak and we continue to work with the investigators as required,” added Mr Burns.