Researchers from The Pirbright Institute have been awarded $5.5 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a Livestock Antibody Hub, with the aim of improving animal health and driving forward the 'One Health' agenda. The work will be led by a number of scientists from Pirbright, including Group Leader Prof John Hammond and the Chair of the BSI's Comparative & Veterinary Immunology Group, Dr Elma Tchilian. The British Society for Immunology was delighted to support this funding bid and looks forward to working with the researchers to assist with nationwide collaboration, and achieve maximum impact from the investment.
Dr Doug Brown, Chief Executive of the British Society for Immunology, commented, "The UK is a world leader in veterinary immunology research, and this transformative investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will drive the next chapter of innovation in developing new treatments and prevention options against livestock diseases. This is the single biggest investment in the immunology of livestock in the UK from an international funder, and the British Society for Immunology will do all we can to support this collaborative initiative and help maximise its impact for the benefit of human and animal health."
The aim of this project is to bring antibody discovery, manipulation and testing for livestock viral diseases up to the benchmark already seen for rodents and humans. This will be achieved by studying B cells and antibodies at multiple scales including gene expression, single cell function and the entire antibody response. “New tools have given us the opportunity to utilise these detailed antibody responses to make the next generation of vaccines and therapies,” said Professor Hammond, "which will improve animal health and ultimately human health, as well as ensuring the security of our food supply."
For more information, please visit The Pirbright Institute's website.