12 Aug 2010

New TB vaccines being developed

3:22 pm on 12 August 2010

AgResearch scientists developing vaccines to protect cattle and deer from bovine tuberculosis are expecting to have the answers on their effectiveness in the next three years.

The research programme, which includes the development of improved Tb testing methods, has received a grant from the Government science funding body, FORST, of $750,000 per year for five years.

Although the current level of infection in farmed animals is low, bovine Tb is still endemic in possums and other wild animals in 40% of New Zealand.

And it's costing the country more than $100 million a year to control the disease.

Dr Bryce Buddle, who leads AgResearch's TB Immunology and Animal Health team, says having cost-effective vaccines and tests would give farmers another way of controlling and reducing bovine Tb levels.

Dr Buddle says scientists are also investigating a new protein-based vaccine that would not induce a skin-test reaction.