Large programme of activity continues as new contracts safeguard research in the UK
The Institute for Animal Health (IAH) last year succeeded in winning research grants for almost £12.5m covering 41 new projects. Details of the Institutes funding and research activities are presented in its Annual Report for 2000 and emphasises the Institutes continued standing as an international centre of expertise in animal health. Much of the new funding enables the Institute to continue and expand existing areas of its research programme. Whilst one new grant from MAFF was for the reintroduction of work on safe and effective vaccines for classical swine fever.
Around 75% of the Institutes annual income comes from competitively won short term, usually three years, research grants. This is a clear indication that its research is of international quality and relevant to the needs of its funders. The remaining 25% comes as a core grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
IAH activities range from strategic underpinning science to practical outputs like vaccines and development of diagnostic kits. In 2000 the Institute, in association with a commercial partner, launched a "pen-side" test kit for rinderpest, which forms an important part of the global eradication programme for this disease.
The report highlights the varied research programme undertaken by the Institute during the year. These include major economic diseases such as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (BSE and scrapie), foot-and-mouth disease and mastitis, as well as more exotic diseases like canine distemper virus in seals.
In his overview to the Annual Report, the Institutes Director, Prof. Chris Bostock said: "The appearance of new diseases and the reappearance of old diseases, sometimes in different guises, is a key lesson of which we need to keep reminding ourselves and one that my predecessors and I have often commented on in this report. The BSE epidemic has provided a stark reminder of the need to maintain a wide diversity of expertise in the diseases of man and animals to enable quick and effective responses to emerging problems."
The importance of this comment has been emphasised this year, following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the UK after a period of 30 years. The Institutes expertise in this area has been critical in the diagnosis, monitoring and control of the disease.
Copies of the Annual Report can be obtained from the: The Library, IAH, Compton Laboratory on 01635 578411
The Institute for Animal Health is an international centre for research into infectious diseases of farm animals. Its headquarters are in Compton, Berkshire, with Laboratories in Compton, Pirbright, Surrey and Edinburgh. The IAH is chiefly Government funded through the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA, formerly MAFF), with sponsorship also raised through independent collaborations. Its aims are to: improve knowledge of animal disease; develop disease control methods; advance animal welfare; and improve food safety, with an emphasis on infections that may transmit from animals to man. Further information can be found on http://www.iah.bbsrc.ac.uk