A new vaccine is being developed for foot and mouth disease in livestock as there are not enough doses of the old vaccine available in the event of an outbreak. Although we do not have foot and mouth disease in the U.S. at this time, if this serious foreign animal disease entered the U.S. it could be devastating to our overall economy If an outbreak occurred in the U.S, it would lead to massive quarantines and the movement of animals would greatly decrease, causing a massive effect on our economy and food supply.
The new synthetic vaccine is more stable than the current vaccine and is less reliant on a cold chain vaccine distribution system, which is important for its use in less developed areas like Africa and Asia. The vaccine is made of small synthetic protein shells called virus-like particles and therefore stimulates an immune response without the need to grow the infectious virus. The vaccine-containing virus-like particles will also allow tests to determine if immunity in an animal that tests positive is due to vaccine or the real disease. This knowledge would allow vaccination of large numbers of animals and would not interfere with trade. It would also prevent culling of large exposed herds. Dr. Ian Jones from the University of Reading says that it is a recombinant vaccine and we already have several of those in veterinary medicine that are used in dogs and cats. Another positive about this vaccine is that it is impossible for the vaccine to revert to virulence and cause disease, which can happen when using modified live vaccines. This vaccine should help decrease the disease in developing countries where it is endemic and hopefully prevent it from spreading to the United States.