Pirbright resumes FMD vaccine production

The company at the centre of the recent Foot and Mouth Disease scare has announced it is to resume FMD vaccine production.

The company at the centre of the recent Foot and Mouth scare has announced the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has confirmed it has no objection to it re-starting manufacture of foot and mouth disease (FMD) vaccines from stored, inactivated antigens at our Pirbright Centre. The company stressed that these antigens are fully safety tested.

Following the FMD outbreak in Surrey, Merial voluntarily suspended production on Saturday 4 August. Vaccine production was temporarily recommenced on 6 August in order to supply DEFRA's order for 300,000 FMD vaccine doses. That batch was completed on Monday 8 August and since that time no further finished vaccine has been made, the company said in a press statement.

Merial said it had invited VMD to re-inspect the Centre during the week commencing 13 August and it is as a consequence of that rigorous inspection that the companyis now in a position to recommence vaccine production.

VMD has the responsibility in the UK for inspecting Good Manufacturing Practice at veterinary facilities such as Merial's. Prior to this most recent VMD inspection, the Pirbright Centre was last issued with a full GMP certificate by the VMD in April 2007.

Merial added that it had operated at Pirbright for 15 years and in all that time there has not been a breach of bio-security from our operations. "After continuous examination of our systems we have found no evidence that the outbreak in Surrey can be traced to any failure in our bio-security procedures or equipment. We are eager to learn the findings of the investigations into the cause of the FMD outbreak and we continue to work with the investigators as required."

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