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Science and Technology Plum Island Animal Disease Center History and Accomplishments

Plum Island 2012 DHS and USDA researchers are honored with DHS Undersecretary’s Award, bestowed in honor of the FMD vaccine licensure.  

2012 The world’s first molecular vaccine for FMD, produced at Plum Island Animal Disease Center, received conditional license. This is the first FMD vaccine that can be produced on the U.S. mainland.

2009 Infrared cameras are shown to detect elevated hoof temperatures, a symptom of FMD in cattle.

2007 ARS scientists Dr. Marvin Grubman honored with the USDA Secretary’s Honor Award.

2005 ARS scientists recognized by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer for their invention of a special lancet for drawing blood from laboratory mice. It allows investigators to draw the blood with very little pain to the animal.

2004 Suitcase-sized, portable diagnostic laboratory based on real-time PCR is successfully tested by Plum Island scientists in Costa Rica on cattle with vesicular stomatitis, an FMD virus look-alike to verify bench test results. ARS developed a vaccine that can be produced without using infectious FMD materials, which means it can be produced on the U.S. mainland without the need for expensive, high-containment production facilities.

2004 Plum Island celebrates its 50-year anniversary of foreign animal disease research.

2003 USDA celebrates its 100th Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic training school for veterinarians.

2003 Natural swine and bovine cellular antivirals (interferons) are shown to produce protection against FMD as early as one day and up to five days after inoculation—a period of immunity can be effective following conventional vaccination. Non-replicating adenovirus systems engineered to deliver protective doses of interferons.

2003 Rapid real-time PCR assays are developed and evaluated for their ability to detect minute quantities of virus in animals prior to the onset of clinical symptoms.

2002 USDA ARS creates a non-replicating adenovirus engineered to produce empty capsids of FMD virus; this new vaccine is non-infectious to livestock, and one dose protects swine within days.

1992 Development of a thermostable rinderpest vaccine important to its global eradication.

1990-1995 Genetic engineering developments allow for cDNA clones of FMD virus to produce non-infectious empty capsids, identify virus binding sites on cells, identify antiviral compounds for FMD and develop new vaccine technology based on non-infectious but native virus materials.

1984 Diagnostics turned over to USDA APHIS.

1983 FMD virus proteins definitively identified through genome sequencing.

1981 First demonstration of an effective vaccine for a viral disease in man or animals based on a vaccine protein produced in E. coli by genetic engineering methods.

1979 Technology developed to store FMD vaccine antigen as a frozen concentrate, providing the ability to stockpile antigen in a vaccine bank. U.S. Patent awarded for FMD vaccine based on the use of non-infectious virus coat protein VP1.

1971 USDA Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic training school initiated.

1970 Vaccine adjuvants are developed and tested, providing better vaccine protection of swine against FMD.

1967 Viral RNA polymerase enzyme recognized as involved in virus replication.

1966 Discovery of the virus infection associated antigen and its use in a diagnostic test to determine if animals have been infected with FMD virus.

1956-1983 USDA ARS conducts diagnostics on foreign animal diseases in Lab 257. 1963 FMD virus is purified and its chemical structure is determined.

1955 FMD virus from England is introduced into Plum Island research program. Diagnostic capability for FMD is established.

1954 USDA establishes Plum Island Animal Disease Center.

Last Updated: 06/28/2024
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