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£12 million funding to tackle devastating livestock and poultry viruses
Date:11/19/2012

f studying the molecular biology of this virus, together with the development of new state-of-the art facilities at the Pirbright Institute, present an exciting opportunity to transform our understanding of how this virus grows in cells, to modify the virus genome and to improve diagnosis all designed to improve the control of FMDV.

Lead researcher Professor Martin Ryan of the University of St Andrews, said: "One approach will be to alter the virus to make new strains that can infect animals without causing disease. These weakened viruses can prompt an immune response from the infected animal, giving it protection from subsequent infection."

The researchers will also attempt to use knowledge of how the virus grows in cells to make a new type of virus that could only grow in specially designed "helper" cells, meaning the virus couldn't then grow in animals. This would make the use of existing conventional vaccines a much safer process.

Professor Ryan added: "The strength of this project arises from combining the expertise from a multi-disciplinary team and the use of state-of-the art research technologies. Success would stimulate the routine use of vaccine to control FMDV around the globe. This would reduce the global incidence of FMD with enormous economic and social value worldwide." Professor Terry Jackson, from The Pirbright Institute, said: "One of humanity's biggest challenges in coming years will be to meet a growing demand for food. Animal diseases have a major impact on the productivity of the livestock industry and safeguarding animal welfare will be a major component of maximising food production."

Professor Dave Rowlands and Dr Nic Stonehouse will contribute from the University of Leeds. Professor Rowlands said: "New technologies can now enable academic institutions to work safely with non-infectious forms of the virus. This greatly expands the range of specialised techniques that can be applied to the study of this
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Contact: Rob Dawson
01-794-413-204
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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