The Pirbright Institute develops reagents, tools and new techniques for diagnosing viral diseases and for species specific research. This important work is done in-house, in collaboration with other research institutes, and via public-private partnerships. This means:
- Research stays ahead of new threats from viruses
- New diagnostic reagents, assays and kits can be developed where the commercial potential is unknown but the consequence of an unmonitored, uncontrolled outbreak could be devastating
When the need arises, new products are developed and sold in house or licensed to companies for bespoke development on proprietary platforms as well as for sales and distribution activities to provide global access to our products.
The Pirbright Institute is a world leading centre of excellence for research and surveillance of virus diseases of farm animals and those that spread from animals to humans. To that end we have extensive facilities for performing studies with the primary host animals, i.e. livestock, and the disease agents that we study. Many of these diseases have enormous economic and social impacts as well as animal welfare implications and our work is vital in contributing to their containment, control and eradication.
We have expertise in running animal studies and can provide assistance with regulatory guidelines, study design, laboratory work and statistical analysis.
We process many of the samples generated from our studies in our Reference Laboratories which are accredited to ISO 17025, UKAS accredited testing laboratories No. 4025. We have 10 Reference Laboratories for exotic viral diseases of livestock which work on behalf of national and international organisations.
The data from our experiments has been used to support the registration of a number of veterinary vaccines; particularly foot-and-mouth disease vaccines. This work also aids us with provision of advice, both nationally and internationally, and on control measures for these important livestock diseases. We are currently working towards veterinary GCP accreditation.
The animals are maintained by our Animal Services department who have extensive knowledge of animal husbandry; some members of staff are also qualified to assist in experimental procedures. Animal Services supply quality animals to meet the specific criteria requested by our clients and our state of the art facilities provide a great deal of flexibility with regard to housing and group sizes. A variety of different animal species can be housed at the site and we are able to work on a number of livestock species including; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens. We can also work with small animals and have developed small animal models for some of the diseases we work on.
We maintain high levels of animal welfare with the provision of 24 hour veterinary care and we work to the ARRIVE guidelines under the NC3Rs. We have our own ethical review committee and an environmental enrichment group.
The Pirbright Institute is able to offer external organisations access to our unique scientific skills and state of the art facilities. Our facilities are used by scientists from other public-funded institutes, such as universities and veterinary schools, and by vaccine/diagnostic companies either as a consequence of collaborative research programmes as visiting workers making use of ongoing experiments, or on a commercial basis.
Our facilities provide a ‘National Capability’ and are unique within the UK with a complement of scientific expertise and physical resources that are not replicated elsewhere within the higher education or commercial animal health sectors of the UK.
Under National Capability we are able to offer:
- Research and Development
- Facilities and services
- Materials and reagents
Our facilities and capabilities provide ample opportunity for collaboration with other institutes and with industry in areas such as research, data analysis, training and access to some areas on site. Our high containment facilities are internationally ground-breaking in design and maintenance, and as such we can provide consultancy in architecture, engineering, and highly specialised expertise in risk and assurance.