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Will foot-and-mouth disease vaccines work?

The UK could be preparing to vaccinate farm animals against foot-and-mouth disease. But will the vaccines be effective against the current strain?

Robert Walgate(walgate@scienceanalysed.com)

LONDON Foot-and-mouth disease vaccines seem to be being readied for use in the UK at the International Vaccine Bank for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (IVB) at Pirbright, Surrey. But if they are used, it's not clear how effective they will be.

In the US, Peter Mason of the Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center has been working for several years on developing improved vaccines against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Plum Island is aiming for vaccines that will allow the use of diagnostic techniques to differentiate between a vaccinated and an infected animal, so that carrier animals can be identified. The vaccines currently available do not allow this.

The existing FMD vaccines consist of inactivated virus with an adjuvant. But immunity can take six months to develop, after two initial vaccinations given one month apart, depending on the antigenic relationship between the vaccine and the outbreak strains.

There are seven serotypes of FMD virus:...

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