Friday, 5 October 2007

Sauce for both goose and gander

The NFU has produced its position on blue tongue vaccination, coming out in favour and contrasting its position on FMD.

With FMD, it says, "it takes longer to remove trade restrictions in live animals from a country or zone that has used vaccination against FMD. In the case of BTV the vaccine that is being developed would allow you to distinguish between an animal that had been vaccinated and one exposed to the virus."

This statement is curiously back to front. The vital phrase in the case of BTV vaccine is "being developed". The NFU wants vaccine for Bluetongue because culling doesn't help and meat exports are not normally restricted. They do not want vaccine for FMD because trade suffers an extra three month ban (a ban that is irrational and ought to be changed).

The problem here for the NFU is that differentiating NSP tests for FMD vaccine are firmly established (Uruguay used one of them - the Panaftosa test) to demonstrate freedom of FMD infection with vaccination which was internationally accepted in 2001) while DIVA for bluetongue is not - it is still being developed.

Paul van Aarle of Intervet International wrote about the FMD test, stating that the main characteristics of Chekit-FMD-3ABC are:

  • The test is serotype specific.
  • Antibodies against 3ABC will be demonstrated as from 10-14 days after infection.
  • The test does not contain any infectious material and can be run in every laboratory, which is equipped for ELISA.
  • The test provides results within hours.
  • There should be very little problem, therefore, in distinguishing between animals that have been vaccinated and those which are harbouring the virus.

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