TB vaccine still a decade away

PROGRESS ON a bovine TB vaccine for both cattle and badgers is still a decade away, says those involved in its development.

“There is no real progress that one can report on a vaccine,” said John Bourne, chairman of the ISG.

“It‘s not about resources being chucked at it, it is scientifically bloody hard.”

Prof Bourne points to the difficulties faced by scientists trying to develop the next generation of human vaccines.

“A billion pounds a year is spent on research for a new human form of the vaccine, but none has yet been produced,” Prof Bourne said.

Meanwhile DEFRA has been called upon by farmers‘ leaders to undertake further trials that consider alternative methods of wildlife management.

“If the RBCT concludes that culling badgers won‘t have an effect on bovine TB then we are in real trouble. All we are left with then is a vaccine and that is a long way off,” said Jan Rowe, vice-chairman of the NFU livestock board.

Mr Rowe is calling on DEFRA to widen the investigation into the effect of culling and wants it to consider the effects of in-sett euthanasia in hot-spot areas outside the culling trial areas.