What challenges does the UK face to eradicate Bovine TB?
This is the question that we as a team decided to ask. Not only does this question have many aspects, we believe it is the question that is best able to have a direct impact on the work we are doing. The timeline below shows a breakdown of how we decided to tackle this highly important question.
Right at the start of our project we wanted to understand everything to do with current TB testing. Understanding the Tuberculin skin test, how the test is implemented in the field and some of the current issues with testing are all things we needed to appreciate. To do this we met with Richard (Dick) Sibley, director of a veterinary practice in Devon. Dick has worked directly with Bovine TB, attending multiple Mycobacterium conferences and also focusing the work of his practice towards tackling Bovine TB.
Click below to read how Dick and his practice influenced our team right from day one.Read more Phase 1: Understand everything to do with current TB testing.
Saved and Safe
A wide range of parties are involved with tackling TB in the UK. Important to our project was to really engage with those at the forefront of TB eradication. Central to this is a company called Saved and Safe and their director Michael Ross. Michael lives in New Zealand and was highly involved with the strategy that saw a decrease in TB incidence rate across New Zealand of 94% in just 10 years. With their 31 UK and international partners, Saved and Safe are taking a new and innovative approach in the fight against TB, something our test could offer great potential to.Read more Phase 2: Look at what projects are at the forefront of tackling TB.
Our test will be cell free meaning all testing can be done ‘in the field’. There were a number of important things to consider when designing exactly how our test would work. This is where Phil Leighton came into our project. A highly experienced vet, we accompanied Phil to a TB test on a Cornish farm and also spoke extensively about our project. Blood testing in cattle, the size of needles/tubes to collect samples and also blood clotting were all things Phil highlighted to us.
Click to read exactly how what Phil told us was integrated into our wet lab.Read more Phase 3: Look at the real life design of our test.
Bovine TB in the UK is a highly contentious issue with many different sides to the argument of how it is spread, what the current problems are and also what is the best way to eradicate it from our farming industry. As opposed to debating this issue, we as a team took to the streets with some simple facts, aiming to make people more aware of exactly how damaging Bovine TB is to the UK. When we started we believed that not enough people were aware of some of these key facts. The best way for us to demonstrate this as a team was to engage with the general public armed with clipboards and a simple survey. Our results were interesting to say the least...Read more Phase 4: Understand the public perception of bTB in the UK.
Meeting with them.Read more Phase 5