Further progress on the redevelopment of the Institute’s Pirbright Laboratory took place in November when the Institute received operating licences for two large-animal facilities from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Research in them is now underway.
These facilities upgrade or replace older buildings and provide high levels of bio-containment (category 3 and 4) for studies to improve the control of viruses that cause diseases such as bluetongue, foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever.
This development follows the commencement in September of the construction of a new £100M+ state-of-the-art laboratory complex at Pirbright, due for completion in 2014.
"These new facilities are part of a wider programme of upgrades and new builds at the Institute for Animal Health's Pirbright Laboratory", said Acting Director Dr David Paton. "This will enable us to provide national and international solutions to challenges posed to animal and human health, and food security by new and re-emerging viral diseases that result from increased animal and human populations, globalisation and climate change."
These facilities contribute to making IAH a unique national centre that works to enhance the UK’s capability to contain, control and eliminate viral diseases of animals. Our focus is on diseases of farm animals (primarily cattle, poultry, sheep and pigs) but also includes insect-borne diseases of horses.
The institute made major contributions to the recently announced global eradication of cattle plague (rinderpest), and to the protection of UK ruminants from bluetongue virus , which came to Britain for the first time in 2007. You can hear IAH's Dr John Anderson and Dr Michael Baron talking about how the eradication of rinderpest was achieved on YouTube.