New facilities at the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) are taking shape, which will help boost Britain’s status as a world leader in animal virology.
The ambitious redevelopment project at the Pirbright site in Surrey is part of government-backed plans to invest heavily in research into livestock diseases.
The scheme includes the construction of a £100m-plus high containment animal research laboratory. The building, which is currently under construction, is due to become operational in early 2014. It is the first of three phases of redevelopment of the IAH campus.
The lab will provide cutting-edge facilities for scientists to research some of the most economically and socially important livestock viruses on the planet, such as foot-and-mouth and bluetongue.
John Fazakerley, director of the IAH, said the facilities were urgently needed to underpin UK and EU capability in this area.
“I think the government realises the threats are there, which is why they are giving us the money to redevelop the site,” he said.
“That could be money well spent if we can prevent outbreaks of diseases such as foot-and-mouth in 2001, which cost the UK’s farming industry and tourism between £3bn and £13bn.”