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Professor Gets Cash For Avian Infectious Bronchitis Virus Research

by 5m Editor
31 July 2007, at 10:36am

UK - A scientist from the University of East Anglia has won funding to tackle a virus that kills millions of chickens and turkeys and has become the poultry industry's most damaging disease.

Prof Tom Wileman, of the UEA's School of Medicine, will study avian infectious bronchitis (IBV), which is regarded by government as the biggest cause of economic loss to the industry.

It is estimated the disease is responsible for the death of more than 15m chickens a year in Britain, and poultry farmers have welcomed the £640,000 of research funding.

Prof Wileman said: "This project provides an exciting opportunity to study how IBV causes a devastating respiratory disease and will give us a better understanding of respiratory diseases of humans, such as SARS, which are caused by related viruses."

Norfolk poultry farmer Nigel Joice, regional chairman of the National Farmers' Union's poultry board and who produces broiler chickens at South Raynham, near Fakenham, welcomed the research.

He said: "This is really brilliant.

"In these days of Defra (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) cutting back funding, this is absolutely brilliant. Any funding has to be very good news."

This new research, which is being carried out with Dr Paul Britton at the Institute for Animal Health, is part of an £11.5m funding to tackle major farm animal diseases.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) also announced other priorities including initiatives to combat bovine tuberculosis in cattle, and a pig-wasting disease.

Source: EDP 24

5m Editor