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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Vaccine Offers New Control Options for FMD

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2007--A new vaccine developed by scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a U.S. biopharmaceutical company holds promise for protection against foot-and-mouth disease which strikes cattle and swine, as well as sheep, goats and deer.

The new vaccine works quickly, demonstrating effectiveness within seven days. Tests thus far have shown that vaccinated cattle retain immunity for at least 21 days, but scientists expect that future studies will show that the new vaccine at least matches the six months of immunity provided by current vaccines. The new vaccine has been tested on cattle and swine, and is equally effective in both species.

"This signals tremendous promise," said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. "Although this is still an experimental vaccine, it has made significant developmental progress, and we are optimistic about its prospects."

Although rarely transmissible to humans, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is devastating to livestock and has critical economic consequences with potentially severe losses in the production and marketing of meat and milk. Although the United States has not had an FMD outbreak since 1929, the disease is still considered a serious threat to the nation's economy and food supply.

Significantly, as this is the first FMD vaccine produced in the United States, the federal government can plan adequate supplies for the veterinary strategic stockpile. The vaccine is the first molecular-based FMD vaccine for cattle, developed by scientists with ARS, the Department of Homeland Security's Targeted Advanced Development unit (TAD) and GenVec, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Gaithersburg, Md. Additional testing is examining the vaccine's commercial viability and effectiveness against the various serotypes of FMD virus.

The new vaccine has many benefits. It is administered in a nonreplicating adenovirus. It does not require expensive, high-containment production facilities, and it can be produced safely in the United States because it can be made without using infectious FMD materials.

In addition, the vaccine also makes it possible for scientists to determine whether an animal found to have FMD antibodies acquired them through vaccination or from infection--an important piece of information because of the trade restrictions associated with using current vaccines.

The results of this research effort will be presented on June 2, at the 2007 American Society for Gene Therapy meeting in Seattle, Wash., by Douglas E. Brough, senior director of GenVec's Vector Sciences.

The DHS TAD unit collaborates with ARS and industry to develop vaccines and biotherapeutic medication for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Federal Laboratory Consortium honors Plum Island ARS researchers.

The Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) honors Federal researchers who are successful in technology transfer. At the May 15-18, 2007 FLC national meeting in Arlington, TX, ARS received six of the 24 technology transfer national awards for 2007. Drs.William Golde andLuis Rodriguez, microbiologists at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, NY,were presented with the 2007 National Technology Transfer Award for a "Humane Device for Bleeding Mice". The technology wasdeveloped in collaboration with MEDIpoint, Inc., of Mineola, NY, by producing a tool used to draw blood painlessly from laboratory mice. The tool draws four to 10 drops of blood from the mouse, while causing minimal discomfort. Recovery time is almost immediate and bleeding stops in seconds.

Dairy Today publishes story on FMD vaccine research.

The Fall 2007 issue of Dairy Today highlighted research by chemist Marvin Grubman, Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Orient Point, NY, and cooperators to develop a new vaccine for protection against foot-and-mouth disease. The ARS News Service publicized the story in a May 31 press release.

ARS scientist receives Secretary's Honor Award.

 ARS Administrator Dr. Edward Knipling, Dr. Marvin Grubman, USDA Undersecretary Gale Buchanan

On October 11, 2007 chemist Marvin Grubman, Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit, Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Orient Point, NY, received a USDA Secretary's Honor Award during a ceremony in Washington, DC. Dr. Grubman received the award for leading foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus research resulting in development of a novel vaccine and biotherapeutic strategy to protect the U.S. animal industry from this exotic disease threat. Dr. Grubman led a research team that developed a FMD vaccine that can be safely produced in the United States and allows differentiation of vaccinated from infected animals. He also identified biotherapeutic molecules that can protect swine from FMD infection within 24 hours. This vaccine and biotherapeutic, which represent the first new tools developed for FMD control in the past 40 years, are currently under advanced development by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and private industry.

Last Modified: 8/25/2017
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