Researchers at the Royal Veterinary College, in collaboration with colleagues at Pirbright, have confirmed that Schmallenberg virus is still circulating in the UK as the current midge season approaches its peak. Tests were carried out on around 150 cattle and over 1000 sheep belonging to the Royal Veterinary College, where MSc student Corin Jack is studying Schmallenberg epidemiology. The tests looking for antibodies to the Schmallenberg virus were done using a commercially available testing kit.
Researchers at the Institute for Animal Health have been awarded £680K by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which also awards strategic funding to IAH, to sequence and study the genome of a biting midge that is responsible for spreading serious viral diseases.
There are over 1500 species of Culicoides midges in the world and this will be the first complete genome sequence.
The world reference laboratory for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) at Pirbright has been acknowledged by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN) and OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) as the centre of global expertise on research, surveillance and diagnostics for FMD. Funding of $3 million over five years will be provided to support the laboratory which is part of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)-funded Institute for Animal Health.