The UK’s fight against zoonotic diseases, including avian flu and bovine tuberculosis have received a major boost with the allocation of £200 million for a programme of investment into world leading research facilities.
The money will be spent on a state-of-the-art revamp of the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) scientific laboratories at Weybridge – enhancing the UK’s already world-leading scientific and veterinary capability.
APHA is responsible for safeguarding animal and plant health. It was integral in controlling the devastating outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001, and is currently tasked with tackling the largest Avian Influenza outbreak on record.
The outbreak of Covid-19, a zoonotic disease, has reiterated the importance of boosting our resilience to help prevent future pandemics.
New equipment and specialist testing facilities will mean APHA scientists can identify pathogens for existing and emerging threats posed by diseases spread by animals, and maintain our high biosecurity standards against Bovine TB, Salmonella and avian flu.
UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Fast, reliable testing and world class animal disease surveillance is vital in halting the spread of animals diseases and mitigating the risk of pandemics.
“This investment ensures APHA can continue its critical role in animal health science and help stop the spread of disease.”