About one million cases of BM are reported in the U.K. each year and are believed to cost the dairy industry several hundred thousand dollars each year in lost production and treatments.
The disease, caused by the Streptococcus uberis bacterium, now is treated with antibiotics. But researchers hope to find antigens that can be used to create a vaccine, or at least better understand how the disease affects the animals. They will look specifically at any parts of the dairy cow's immune system that potentially could be altered to prevent BM.
The grant was awarded with the help of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Royal Veterinary College, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the U.K., the University of Oxford and the Institute for Animal Health.