ARCHIVE: Bovine TB: Vaccination
Bovine TB will not be eradicated through the use of one measure alone – we need to use a range of tools from those available. Vaccines are one of the potential tools and a TB Vaccines Programme has been set up within Defra to bring together the research and policy development of vaccines for cattle and badgers. The policy options are being developed and informed by veterinary advice, scientific evidence, and economic analysis. The TB Programme has also been working with external stakeholders to draw on their expertise and inform the policy development process.
The TB Vaccines Research Programme
Defra has invested in a significant research programme to develop vaccines for cattle and badgers. The research programme consists of a portfolio of projects looking at vaccine development; licensing studies; new diagnostic tests and disease epidemiology to support vaccine use.
Vaccination of either cattle or wildlife is an important long-term policy option for reducing the risk of bovine TB in England. The total investment (since 1998) in vaccine development has reached more than £29.9 million (by April 2010).
Putting cattle and badger vaccines to use
The first product available for use from the research programme is an injectable BCG badger, which was licensed in March 2010 and we are funding a Badger Vaccine Deployment Project to assess the practicality of its use. This project will be a significant step forward in the vaccine research work as it will be the first practical use of a vaccine for TB in badgers outside research trials.
The earliest projected date for the use of a BCG cattle vaccine with a differential diagnostic test (DIVA) is 2015 and the earliest projected date for a licensed BCG oral badger vaccine is 2015.
Putting the use of TB vaccines into practice is not a simple task. The TB Vaccines Programme has held discussions with a number of stakeholders including farming groups, veterinary groups and wildlife groups on scenarios for the potential use of cattle and badger vaccines against bovine TB. The outcome of these discussions are summarised in Cattle (PDF 590KB) and Badger (PDF 575KB) vaccination option papers which were developed to set out a range of possible scenarios for how vaccines might be used in conjunction with existing control mechanisms.
These papers consider the core issue of balancing costs versus benefits in terms of disease control but also wider issues that need to be taken into account and balanced such as acceptability, practicality and legal constraints. Also to be taken into account is EU legislation, which in its current form prohibits the use of TB vaccines in cattle. Work is underway to address the issues identified so we are able to use vaccines as they become available.
Page last modified: 22 July 2010