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Kansas and Scottish Laboratories Join to Tackle Bunyaviruses

26 February 2015

GLOBAL – Two universities are partnering across the Atlantic to combat a family of viruses which includes Schmallenberg, first detected in the UK in 2012.

A grant of £479,311 from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the US Department of Agriculture has been announced to help scientists at Kansas State University and Glasgow University to promote innovation in emerging virus control.

Causing fever, diarrhoea and milk yield loss, Schmallenberg is spread by midges and had a vaccine developed in 2013. Bunyaviruses affect ruminant animals, causing a range of conditions.

“Ensuring our food supplies are safe is hugely important, particularly as demand increases and resources are stretched,” said Professor Richard Elliott, the Bill Jarrett Chair of Infectious Diseases.

“This grant will allow us to gain a greater understanding of emerging threats and, should any new viruses similar to Schmallenberg arise in the UK, enable us to develop means to deal with them.”

Steve Visscher, BBSRC Deputy Chief Executive, International, said: "A growing world population means that safe and secure food supplies are going to become more and more important in the years to come.

“The scale of such challenges require increased international collaboration, and this partnership of co-investment between BBSRC and NIFA will allow world-leading researchers in both countries to work together to combat livestock diseases and safeguard food supplies."

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