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PEOPLE from around the world gathered in Wales last month to explore ways to combat the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (TB). The sixth international Mycobacterium bovis conference, which was held in Cardiff City Hall from June 16 to 19, saw more than 500 delegates convene to share their knowledge and expertise on how to tackle the pathogen. Attendees came from a diverse range of backgrounds, as Glyn Hewinson, chair of the conference scientific committee, noted in his opening talk. ‘Successful control comes from a balance of science, compliance, finance and appropriate control strategies,’ he said, ‘and that's why we have gathered everyone together.’ Delegates included veterinarians, medical researchers, policymakers, social scientists and veterinary scientists, among others.
The multidisciplinary nature of the conference was reflected in its programme, with streams on epidemiology, economics, social science, vaccinology, practical delivery and policy.
Plenary talks also included a series on TB in people, in which comparisons were made with the prevention and treatment of bovine TB. Helen McShane, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, outlined research currently being conducted into human TB vaccination. She noted that, while BCG was currently widely used to protect people from infection, it was far from perfect and the degree of protection it provided varied widely depending on environmental factors. However, she explained that a wide range of new vaccines were currently being trialled and there were some promising areas of research around routes of vaccination, including the idea that inhalation could be a more effective means of delivery.⇓
Christopher Dye, director of strategy in the Director General's Office of the …
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