According to USDA’s Healthy Animals newsletter, scientists with the ARSHenryA.WallaceBeltsvilleAgriculturalResearchCenter will join scientists from around the United States and the world in a new project that will ultimately accelerate the characterization and treatment of a range of animal diseases.

The U.S. Veterinary Immune Reagent Network project will help researchers develop tools needed to create improved vaccines and tests for animal diseases that threaten agriculture and the food supply. It is designed to coordinate efforts of the veterinary immunology research community.

The USDA is funding the initiative with a $2.15-million grant for a core of eight research groups with collaborative efforts by more than 40 researchers in USDA, university, institutional and industry labs. The initiative's goal is to develop biological tools, or reagents, that will detect and measure animals' disease responses.

These reagents will be used to help diagnose a wide variety of illnesses, improve vaccines, and in some cases function as biotherapeutics to produce changes or serve as prophylactic treatments.

Research is to focus on cattle, poultry, horses, swine, catfish and salmonids including salmon, trout and char.

Each species group has as a goal of producing 20 new reagents over the next 4 years. The U.S. Veterinary Immune Reagent Network will consult with an international advisory board of scientists and industry stakeholders to decide which reagents should receive immediate attention.

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