Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Algae bead breakthrough for badger TB vaccine


A research team at Aston University has received funding to try and develop an efficient vaccine for badgers against Tuberculosis (TB). Special algae beads could be used to deliver the vaccine to the animals.

In the UK, badgers are often infected with bovine Tuberculosis (TB) and there is evidence that they may be linked with TB infection in cattle, which has resulted in randomised badger culling since 1998. Obviously this isn’t the most humane way of dealing with the problem, so researchers from the Medicines Research Unit at Aston are trying to develop a new TB vaccine delivery method for use on uncle brock.

TB is an infectious disease affecting man and many animal species including cattle. Last year alone, over 20,000 cattle were slaughtered in the UK (at a cost of 31 million in farmer compensation) due to TB infection. However the persistence of infection recorded in cattle herds remains high, and control of bovine TB has proved difficult in countries where there is a wildlife reservoir for the disease. Whilst the majority of TB transmission in herds results from cattle to cattle transmissions, a proportion of disease outbreaks may be associated with the presence of infected wildlife.

In an effort to remove this TB transmission route from badgers to cattle, Aston researchers Dr Yvonne Perrie and Dr Hannah Batchelor are working in conjunction with the Veterinary Licensing Agency to develop appropriate vaccines.

They explain: ’We have used alginate gel beads as a means to deliver the vaccine orally to badgers. A significant problem in the oral delivery of vaccines is that the acid within the stomach of the badger destroys the fragile vaccine, thus it does not reach the intestines where it is absorbed. If we can entrap the vaccine inside these gel beads we can protect it within the stomach so that it reaches the intestine where the beads dissolve to release the vaccine. Our preliminary experiments have shown that the beads remain intact within a solution of acid (simulated gastric fluid) for up to two hours, after this time the beads are transferred to simulated intestinal fluid where they are seen to fully dissolve over a two-hour period.

Alginates are natural products derived from seaweed, they have no taste or smell and can be found in many food substances eaten on a daily basis (eg ice-cream), so they are perfectly safe for badgers to eat. Current research is investigating how to get these beads to badgers and how they should be incorporated into bait that will temp them, so far it’s known that badgers mainly eat earthworms but also enjoy chocolate!’

So watch this space for news of the world’s nicest tasting vaccine.

Sally Hoban | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

nachricht 'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>