LONDON There is no vaccine specific to the PanAsia strain of O-variety foot-and-mouth disease causing the current disaster in the UK, according to the person at the sharp end of providing vaccines to control the outbreak.

In an interview with BioMed Central, Paul Barnett, Manager of the International Vaccine Bank for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (IVB), Institute for Animal Health, said "The PanAsia strain has been about since 1990, when it was first isolated in India. We haven't got a vaccine for it that quickly, it's just that an existing vaccine — strain O Manisa — appears to be suitable, according to serology, to use against this virus."

"You should also distinguish conventional and emergency vaccines," Barnett said. "We can give emergency vaccines a higher potency, generally by increasing antigen payload."

The trouble with conventional foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccines is that although they protect animals from clinical symptoms, they don't necessarily...

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