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Joint BBSRC/IAH response to Anderson review

11 March 2008

The Institute for Animal Health (IAH) and its sponsoring body the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) welcome the report of the Anderson review and are now considering the report (Foot and Mouth Disease 2007: A Review and Lessons Learned) and its recommendations.

The report’s confirmation of the world class science conducted by staff at IAH Pirbright Laboratory is particularly welcomed. The report’s findings on the general infrastructure of the Laboratory are consistent with those of a BBSRC-commissioned independent review in 2002-03 chaired by Professor Keith Gull, which led to the current major capital redevelopment programme in partnership with Defra.

Following the outbreak of FMD near Pirbright in August last year, BBSRC and IAH initially gave priority to putting into place the processes required immediately by the HSE and Spratt reviews published in September 2007, so that the Institute’s surveillance work and underpinning basic research could continue. In addition, the Institute has reviewed its own procedures, BBSRC has commissioned an independent study by Professor Sir John Beringer into the funding, governance and risk management at the Institute, and together BBSRC and IAH have identified and acted upon ‘lessons learned’ from the 2007 outbreak.

It is expected that the report of the Beringer review will be considered by BBSRC Council at its meeting in April.

BBSRC Interim Chief Executive, Mr Steve Visscher said: "We have a unique opportunity to pull together the findings and recommendations from the different expert reviews, at a key stage in the redevelopment of the Pirbright site. Rather than responding piecemeal to individual recommendations, BBSRC will consider the outcomes of the reviews together and, in partnership with Defra, will work to ensure that we learn from the 2007 incident to create a new national capability in disease detection and prevention that will meet the scientific challenges of the next 20-30 years and provide the high-quality facilities that are required.  The renewal of IAH’s infrastructure together with sufficient assured funding to ensure long term sustainability will be a key element of these plans."

Chair of the IAH Governing Body, Professor Keith Gull said: "The IAH Governing Body and IAH staff welcome the opportunity to work with BBSRC and Defra to create a new centre whose world class research is matched by world class facilities. It is essential that the UK has a strong capability of scientific and technical competence and international standing to address, across a spectrum from fundamental research through to practical control strategies, the rising threats from a wide range of animal diseases."


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299