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Foot-and-mouth research at risk

Spanish law may halt research, including international vaccine collaborations, scientists warn

Xavier Bosch(xbosch@teleline.es)

Spanish investigators have warned this week that a national law governing research into the foot-and-mouth disease virus could hinder international collaborations on the development of a vaccine against the veterinary pathogen.

In a letter made public last Wednesday (March 16), 135 scientists urged the government to reconsider an "incomprehensible" law that they say prevents the country's leading foot-and-mouth disease research institute from studying the causative agent.

Their protest focuses on a Spanish "royal decree" published in November that aims to enact a 2003 European Commission (EC) directive to tackle foot-and-mouth disease. Scientists were surprised to find that the Madrid-based Center of Animal Health Research (CISA), which has a long tradition on foot-and-mouth disease research, was not listed in the decree as the national center on foot-and-mouth disease. Instead, the Central Laboratory of Animal Health (LCV) near Madrid was listed as the only reference center authorized to manipulate live foot-and-mouth disease...

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