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Merial Statement On Foot And Mouth Disease (FMD) Outbreak In The UK

15 years ago

6th August, 2007 00h00

Duluth, GA - Merial welcomes the arrival of the independent investigation team to our foot and mouth disease production centre at Pirbright, UK. This centre operates to the very highest international standards and we insist on stringent adherence to processes and procedures for health, safety and environmental protection, quality control, quality assurance and regulatory compliance. We have been operating from this site for fifteen years and, during that time have produced hundreds of millions of vaccine doses. In all that time, we have never had a breach in our bio-security. There has been and continues to be intense speculation regarding the possible causes of this outbreak. While we at Merial have complete confidence in the integrity of our bio-security, and our initial investigation shows no breach in our procedures, it is really too early in this investigation for anyone to determine the cause of the outbreak. Our focus has been to co-operate fully with the Government and its investigation teams. We have been meeting with representatives from the UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Institute of Animal Health (IAH) and have supplied them with detailed information regarding our operations, so that every possible source of this infection can be thoroughly investigated. The Institute of Animal Health is a UK government virus research facility on the same site as our Pirbright centre. To support these investigations, we voluntarily suspended antigen production at this centre. However, on Monday, August 6, Merial recommenced production of strain-specific foot and mouth vaccine, in specific response to DEFRA’s order of 300,000 doses from previously prepared antigens. Producing vaccine from antigen does not involve use of live virus. Merial’s voluntary decision to suspend all other vaccine production remains in place while the investigation continues. Permanent production at Pirbright will not recommence without full consultation with DEFRA. We are constantly re viewing this decision with them. At Merial we are committed to continuing to work with DEFRA and to playing our part in helping to contain, control and eradicate this outbreak as quickly as possible. We intend to take all action necessary to help the authorities to achieve this. We have served the farming community for over fifty years and welcome the speed and efficiency of the Government’s response to this outbreak. We will continue to do everything we can to support them in their investigations.

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