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Princess Royal opens National Vaccinology Centre

Anne, The Princess Royal has officially opened a vaccine development centre. Located at the Pirbright Institute in Surrey, The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Centre (BBSRC) National Vaccinology Centre: The Jenner Building is a world-leading centre for cutting-edge research and development for genetically modified vaccines.

The centre cost £24 million to build; it’s part of a £350 million strategic capital investment from the UK government so it might continue to be a world-leading institution in bioscience. This campus is well-known for its development of vaccines and diagnostics. The world-leading institution provides a national surveillance and response centre to the UK for those diseases which are highly contagious if spread from animals to humans. The facility is also home to the World Reference Laboratory for foot-and-mouth disease and the UK/EU reference laboratory for bluetongue disease.

The building can accommodate 100 scientists who research and develop vaccines for various livestock diseases, including those illnesses that spread to human beings. They focus on Bird Flu and Marek’s diseases, both considered poultry diseases. However, they also develop vaccines for other diseases such as African Horse Sickness virus.

The facility at the Pirbright campus seen many breakthroughs. One of these includes facilitating the development of new vaccines which are genetically-modified.

According to the Vet Times, these modified vaccines “are quicker and cheaper to produce and, crucially, are capable of protecting against a variety of diseases – paving the way for universal vaccines against several different strains of virus, such as bird flu.”

While there, The Princess Royal unveiled a sign to commemorate the official opening of the centre. From a release on the BBSRC website, Dr Bryan Charleston, interim director and CEO of The Pirbright Institute, said: “We are very honoured to have HRH The Princess Royal here today to officially open the BBSRC National Vaccinology Centre: The Jenner Building.

“Our innovative new facilities will enable scientists to develop a greater understanding of virus-host interactions and how best to combat diseases using the latest technologies including the genetic modification of vaccines and viruses.

“Extensive investment by BBSRC and the government in our infrastructure and the unique expertise of our scientists and staff, well position the Institute to continue to deliver innovative world-leading science that provides economic and health benefits on a global scale.”

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