New $5.5m Livestock Antibody Hub to launch at Pirbright

27 Nov 2019

Scientists at the Pirbright Institute in the UK have been awarded $5.5 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to launch a new Livestock Antibody Hub. The Hub’s work will aim to improve animal and human health globally and help drive vaccine design and development.

Pirbright’s research is focused on viral diseases in animals, and the Hub will use the institute’s expertise and facilities to improve antibody discovery, manipulation and testing in livestock. The project will see six research groups at the institute working together to study antibody responses at high resolution in pigs, poultry and cattle.

“New tools have given us the opportunity to utilise these detailed antibody responses to make the next generation of vaccines and therapies” said Pirbright’s Professor John Hammond, who will lead the project, working alongside Professor Venugopal Nair, Dr Elma Tchilian, Dr Erica Bickerton, Prof Munir Iqbal and Dr Simon Graham.

Antibody Hub Pirbright logo

The Hub will help the wider research community by providing methods, access to animal models and expertise to drive antibody research. The work will form part of the ‘One Health’ agenda – using research outcomes in livestock to inform and support work on human diseases. “[Our findings] will improve animal health and ultimately human health, as well as ensuring the security of our food supply”, Professor Hammond said.

Dr Doug Brown, chief executive of the British Society for Immunology, welcomed the announcement. “This is the single biggest investment in the immunology of livestock in the UK from an international funder,” he said.

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