Starting with a public lecture from the VALIDATE Network. What do you think? What is your experience?
It’s been over a century since the Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine (BCG) was first used in cattle. After initial widespread use, the practice was replaced with a test and cull approach halfway through the twentieth century. However, the emergence of wildlife reservoirs of TB and the recognition that test and cull strategies are not possible in many countries has led scientists to re-evaluate the use of BCG in animals. In this talk, Prof Michele Miller and Prof Glyn Hewinsondiscuss why effective vaccine programmes for animals are essential to the health and wellbeing of humans and the challenges that we still face in making such programmes a reality.
Note: Due to a power cut in South Africa, Prof Miller was unable to complete her talk live. However, she did manage to record the rest of her talk separately and we have included the complete talk here.
Some jargon that might be helpful
- Zoonotic refers to a pathogen that has jumped from an animal species to humans
- OneHealth is a collaborative healthcare approach working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.
- Attenuated – Weakened. BCG is based on an attenuated strain of Mycobacteria Bovis. It was originally attenuated by repeatedly culturing the bacteria in tubes. BCG was produced after 230 generations.
- Non-inferiority trial - A study that tests whether a new treatment is not worse than an existing treatment.
If you have any questions about the talk comment below or email VALIDATE@ndm.ox.ac.uk.
Prof Michele A Miller studied immunology and received her Masters and PhD before going to veterinary school. With her interest in wildlife (despite growing up in the US), she was able to do additional training at San Diego Zoo, then went on to work at several zoos in the U.S. (Los Angeles Zoo, Busch Gardens, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Palm Beach Zoo). Her passion for African wildlife led her to develop research projects in South Africa and in 2013 became a Research Chair in Animal Tuberculosis at Stellenbosch University. Currently, she is based full-time in Kruger National Park. She uses her training in research and veterinary medicine to design studies that will improve the health and our understanding of wildlife.
Professor Glyn Hewinson is the Sêr Cymru research chair in the Centre of Excellence for Bovine Tuberculosis for Wales at Aberystwyth University and Lead Scientist for bovine tuberculosis at the Animal and Plant Health Agency, UK. Glyn has worked on bovine tuberculosis for nearly thirty years, has published over 250 peer-reviewed publications. He is one of three Office International des Epizooties (OIE) experts on bovine TB and was recently one of the authors of the Godfray Review of UK Bovine TB Strategy.
The event was chaired by VALIDATE's Network Director Helen McShane.