Prospect of TB vaccine for badgers looks promising, reports the BBC.

Vaccinating badgers could prove a good way to tackle the spread of TB in cattle, according to research. In a four-year project, UK scientists found vaccination reduced the incidence of TB infection in wild badgers by 74%. This does not prove vaccinating badgers would reduce the number of cattle catching the disease, they caution. But they say it could “overcome some of the challenges” surrounding badger culling, which the UK government wants to bring in next year.

2 comments on “BBC Reports on Badger Vaccine

  • Vaccination of badgers. . Now the truth.

    The headline from the Defra press release and from the Badger Trust – 800 wild badgers, jabbed with BCG and a 74% success rate.

    Has anybody actually read this stuff?

    The badgers were trapped and pre screened for TB, using three blood assays.
    In the 800 badger trial, a couple of hundred were trapped each year, and 2008’s intake were, after screening subjected to a dose of Mycobacterium bovis. These badgers were then blood checked again. . .The results were :

    “For all three tests combined (total number = 262), there was a reduction from 41.5% cases (95% confidence interval: [28.0%, 56.3%]) of new incidence in group B down to 31.1% cases (95% confidence interval: [22.7%, 41.0%]) of new incidence in group A.”
    Now that is not 74% by a long chalk. On pre screened badgers it looks like about 25% success on blood assays, and with no post mortems to double check.

    So where did that 74% referred to, come from?
    The mathematical modellers had another shake out, and just counted badgers which had tested negative to all three pre-screen tests. then they had another go at getting an estimated % success rate:

    “This additional analysis has shown that there were differences in the proportions of cases of new incidences between groups A and B (treatment A showed a reduction of between 19% and 74% in the proportion of cases of new incidences, depending on the outcome of interest). Two of these differences were found to be statistically significant at the 5% level (StatPak on its own and StatPak and Culture combined.)”

    Everyone seems to have missed the shake out to a small number of pre screened badgers out of the headline 800, and also the ‘Between 19 – 74%’. especially, Defra.

    This is blatant dishonesty. . BCG is 80 year old science that and hardly accepted useful in a controlled compliant human environment except for young children.

  • The above analysis I posted regarding badger vaccination is by ‘Pat’ from the Farmer’s Guardian. . The final conclusion is mine and should read:- “This is blatant dishonesty. . BCG is 80 year old science that is now hardly accepted useful any more even in a controlled, compliant human environment, except for young children.

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