April 1, 2024


New centre in Inverness, UK to track spread of livestock diseases



Aiming to enhance monitoring and research on diseases potentially fatal to sheep and cattle, the Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre (Ravic), located in Inverness, UK, has commenced operations, putting scientists and businesses on a single site, BBC reported.


Ravic's leaders noted that insights from tracking COVID-19 strains during the pandemic have influenced their approach to disease surveillance and research.


Among the diseases under scrutiny are bovine viral diarrhoea in cattle and bluetongue, a viral ailment transmissible to livestock via certain species of biting midges.


Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) spearheaded the development of the centre, backed by funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the Scottish Funding Council.


Inspired by similar facilities in Scandinavia and North America, Ravic adopts a collaborative model, bringing together academia, research entities, and small enterprises.


Equipped with laboratories, meeting spaces, and a lecture theatre, Ravic conducts research spanning human and animal diseases, drug resistance in viruses, food security, and the impact of climate change on disease dynamics.


Director Prof George Gunn said data is important in disease tracking, drawing parallels with the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighting the importance of surveillance for diseases like bovine viral diarrhoea and the looming threat of bluetongue.


Bluetongue, recently reported in southern England, poses a severe risk to sheep and cattle, potentially resulting in fatalities.


Dr Scott Lawton, another scientist at Ravic, emphasised the centre's unique blend of local veterinary surveillance, business collaboration, and rigorous scientific inquiry, stressing the interdisciplinary approach to addressing real-world disease challenges.


-      BBC

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