New vaccine to prevent TB in badgers discovered
New research has discovered a vaccine which prevents against TB in badgers under natural conditions.
It comes following a scientific research project which involved the administration of an oral vaccine to badgers, to investigate its impact against bovine tuberculosis in a large scale field trial in Co Kilkenny.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed of the results and said that the results of the trial were very positive in that they demonstrated that the oral vaccination of badgers has a significant protective effect in badgers under natural conditions.
The findings confirmed the results of earlier experimental vaccine challenge studies where BCG vaccine was delivered to captive badgers by a variety of routes, including oral inoculation.
The findings in the study of a significant protective effect of oral BCG vaccination in badgers under natural conditions, is also consistent with the results of other oral vaccination studies in cattle, deer and wild boar.
The Minister went on to say “that it is my Department's ambition to deploy a full badger vaccination strategy as part of the eradication programme provided that the vaccination of badgers delivers an outcome equivalent to the current badger removal strategy”.
In this regard, the Minister emphasised that the vaccine trial in question related to the protective effect of vaccination against TB in badgers and did not provide any direct evidence of the protective effect of badger vaccination in relation to TB in cattle.
Further trials are currently being conducted in six separate locations throughout the country, involving the vaccination by intramuscular injection, of several hundred badgers over 3 to 4 years, with continuous monitoring of the cattle population to assess the impact of the vaccine on the incidence of the disease in the cattle population.