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VIDO Steps Up Focus on Bovine Tuberculosis

Researchers with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization expect to be ready to begin field trials of new bovine tuberculosis vaccines within the next couple of years.

Bovine tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection, primarily of livestock but it also affects other mammals like wildlife species and it can spread from mammals to humans.

Dr. Jeffrey Chen, a Research Scientist with the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, says because TB is highly transmissible and poses a serious risk to the public, Bovine TB is reportable and if Canada was to be adversely affected it would shut down the cattle industry resulting in disastrous economic consequences.

Quote-Dr. Jeffrey Chen-Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization:

VIDO has historically been engaged in vaccine development to prevent infectious diseases in both livestock and in humans.We have, in the last five to six years, been engaged in the development and trialing and testing of various TB vaccine candidates for use in both humans and livestock and at the moment we've got a number of very promising candidates that we are testing.

For at least one of the candidates, we are in the preclinical stage.That means we have characterised what the vaccine does.In terms of the immune responses, we have characterised how protective it is in certain animal models of TB disease but we are yet to conduct large scale trials in the field.

For example, testing the vaccine under real world conditions in a field trial.We are hopefully going to progress to that stage in the next couple of years.

Dr. Chen says even though Canada has a Bovine TB free status, the infection still affects many other jurisdictions so ongoing surveillance and investments in TB research is critical.

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