The Equine Grass Sickness Fund, The Animal Health Trust and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh are delighted to announce that a small pilot trial of a vaccine to protect against grass sickness has been approved by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. A total of 100 horses and ponies have been enrolled for this pilot study, with thanks to the participating owners for their support.
This pilot study is in preparation for a full vaccine trial, which is likely to commence in 2013-2014 subject to securing sufficient funding, which will involve at least 1000 horses and ponies. We have great hopes that these vaccine trials will mark an enormous breakthrough in the prevention of this devastating disease.
Dr Jo Ireland of the Animal Health Trust, who is piloting the vaccine trial, said: 'This is very exciting news and we are working flat out to get the study up and running. There is still a lot of work to do before launching the full nationwide vaccine trial, and this initial study will help us to ensure that the trial design will be practical to perform on a larger scale.'
The Equine Grass Sickness Fund is spearheading the campaign to raise funds for the full vaccine trial, which is being run in collaboration with the Animal Health Trust, The (Dick) Vet and Liverpool University's School of Veterinary Studies.
Kate Thomson, spokesperson for the Fund, said 'We are over the moon that the vaccine trial is finally here, but fundraising now starts in earnest to ensure that the full trial can go ahead. Grass sickness takes a terrible annual death toll, and we are appealing to every horse owner in the UK to help bring an end to the disease by donating to this cause'.
Can you help?
If you are interested in taking part in the full vaccine trial:
Please register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and you will be sent an owners pack once we are ready to recruit participants. Your details will be treated in the strictest confidence, and registering your interest places you under no obligation whatsoever.
In the meantime you can help us take a step further to the full vaccine trial by helping us raise sufficient funds. Without your help the full vaccine trial will be an impossibility. Please consider making a donation, purchase your Christmas cards from our shop, or better still organise your own fund raising event - we can help you promote your event to maximise your efforts, and would love to hear from you.
Want to know more?
Representatives of the Equine Grass Sickness Fund and Equine Grass Sickness Surveillance Scheme will be at HorseWorldLive at London ExCel on November 15th to 18th, and will be delighted to answer questions in person. Other venues to meet us in 2013 will be arranged in the New Year.
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