US develops new FMD vaccine

American scientists have developed a new vaccine for protection against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

Although still experimental, the United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS) says it has made significant developmental progress, with current tests showing vaccinated cattle staying immune for at least 21 days, and future tests expected to show six months of immunity. The vaccine has been tested on cattle and swine, and is equally effective in both species.

Administered in a non-replicating adenovirus and not requiring expensive, high-containment production facilities, the vaccine is produced safely without infectious materials.

The vaccine also makes it possible for scientists to determine whether an animal with FMD antibodies acquired them through vaccination or infection - important due to trade restrictions associated with vaccines.

Rarely transmissible to humans, FMD is devastating to livestock, and while the US has not had an outbreak in almost 80 years, it is still considered a serious threat to America's food supply.

This first-ever molecular-based FMD vaccine for cattle was developed by scientists with ARS, the Department of Homeland Security and a bio-pharmaceutical firm.

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