Suspect company in foot-and-mouth scare up and running again

The drug company at the centre of the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Britain has been allowed to re-start production.

The outbreak which resulted in herds of cattle being culled also triggered a nationwide ban on the movement of livestock.

Merial Animal Health shares the Pirbright laboratory complex in Surrey with the Institute for Animal Health and an interim report found there was a "strong probability" the complex was the source of the outbreak.

Merial halted vaccine production on the 4th of August after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was confirmed on a farm in Normandy near Guildford; the strain of the disease was identical to that being used by Merial, but was also being used on a much smaller scale by the Institute for Animal Health.

Merial says it has been given the green light from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate to re-start production using a non-live virus.

The company will not be allowed to resume manufacturing vaccines using live virus until the government has considered the two investigations into the source of the outbreak.

Merial says they are keen to see the results of the investigations into the cause of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, and will continue to work with the investigators as required.

The company insists they have found no evidence that the outbreak in Surrey can be traced to any failure in their bio-security procedures or equipment.

Merial have operated at Pirbright for 15 years and say there has never been a breach of bio-security at their operations.

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