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Vaccination: Research

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 41891, tabled on 3 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to introduce a one health approach between (a) veterinary and (b) human vaccine research.

Answered on

13 September 2021

The UK recognises the complex interdependencies between the health of people, animals, plants and the natural environment, and the need to address threats holistically – through a ‘One Health’ approach. There is close collaboration between animal and human health sectors to prepare and respond to disease threats, for example through the Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance (HAIRS) group (https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/human-animal-infections-and-risk-surveillance-group).

The development and application of veterinary vaccines are a crucial instrument in support of disease control and such R&D forms a fundamental part of our biosecurity research priorities. Over the past five years, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has invested £177.2 million in veterinary vaccinology research and innovation including the Global Challenges Research Fund Networks in Vaccine R&D call, led by the Medical Research Council and supported by BBSRC, committing £9.6 million to support global, multisector research communities tackle key challenges facing human and veterinary vaccine R&D. The Networks foster and support an interdisciplinary One Health agenda through pump-prime funding and networking and knowledge exchange activities. BBSRC and Defra also work with European and International partners though Horizon 2020 programmes as well as through a Global Coronavirus research and innovation network jointly funded by BBSRC and Defra.

In June investment was announced for a new Animal Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre to be established at The Pirbright Institute (TPI), a strategically funded BBSRC institute, with contributions from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Gates Foundation. The Centre will develop and improve the use of veterinary vaccines for control of a number of diseases, both in the UK and Developing Countries, and will enable improvements to animal and public health directly and provide wider benefits including combating antimicrobial resistance.

The BBSRC Bioscience for Health Strategic Framework also outlines One Health as a key strategic challenge area with a vision of collaborative and coordinated approaches to combat zoonotic with a focus on prediction, prevention, response and recovery principles to improve the health and wellbeing of animals and people in their environments.