Bovine Tuberculosis: Vaccines

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15th July 2008.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department plans to spend on research for a (a) wildlife and (b) cattle vaccine against bovine tuberculosis in 2008-09; and what plans he has for such spending in the next two years.

Photo of Jonathan R Shaw Jonathan R Shaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs) and Minister for the South East), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

holding answer 10 July 2008

As part of DEFRA's commitment to tackling the issue of bovine TB (bTB), we have invested in a significant research programme looking into the development of vaccines for both cattle and badgers. The total investment (since 1998) in vaccine development reached more than £17.8 million by March 2008, with over £5.5 million invested in cattle and badger vaccine research last financial year (2007-08).

On 7 July 2008, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced a commitment to additional funding over the next three years. During this time period, £20 million will be spent on vaccine development to strengthen the prospects of successfully developing a usable vaccine.

The increased funding will not result in a vaccine being available sooner. While the programme of research has been designed to minimise the time required to deliver licensed vaccines, research by its nature takes time and a significant proportion of the work can only be addressed sequentially.

The exact scope and cost of the research projects is in the process of being finalised, approximate projected spending is shown in the following table:

Estimated spend (£ million)
Vaccine type 2008-09 2009-2011 Total for CSR period
Badger (injectable and oral) 2.3 4.7 7
Cattle (including diagnostic test) 4.3 8.7 13
Total 6.6 13.4 20

The larger budget for cattle research reflects the high costs of keeping infected cattle under stringent biosecurity containment in the laboratory.

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