Sparrows are among the most threatened birds in the UK and in many parts of the world, and the number of them has been steadily declining over the past century.
Sparrow populations are on the rise in the US, Europe and parts of Asia, but in Britain they are on track to drop by 30 per cent by 2040.
The Sparrow health service in Kent is trying to reverse that decline by introducing the first ever vaccine designed specifically for the sparrow population.
The vaccine, which is being developed by UK-based company Novepharma, is designed to contain a strain of the flu virus that causes the spay and neuter of sparrow chicks.
The treatment is a combination of two antibiotics, but it is also able to help the birds to avoid infection with a range of other strains.
The team at SparrowHealth are testing the vaccine in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The researchers say the vaccine is also proving very effective in preventing sparrow disease.
Dr Matthew MacLean, of Sparrow Health, said: “We have now introduced the first vaccine in a country where sparrow populations have been declining for more than 100 years, and we are very excited to be able to offer the vaccine to the public.”
This is a collaboration between Noveparma, which has an existing partnership with the UK government to develop the vaccine, and UK Spay and Neuter Society, a charity which supports spay-neuter-return (S-NR) programmes.
The project has been funded by the Department of Health and has been supported by a £3 million grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC).
The vaccine was approved by the UK’s Food Standards Agency in October 2016.
The government is looking at introducing the vaccine nationally in 2019.
Dr MacLean said: The vaccine is the most successful vaccine developed to date for a major pandemic, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
What is the spaying and neutering procedure? “
If we don´t act now we may not be there when the pandemic comes.”
What is the spaying and neutering procedure?
When a bird is neutered, it is then put back into its usual environment, which typically means a bird cage.
The animal will usually be kept in a cage, but when the bird is re-examined for its illness it can be released to a wild bird enclosure.
The vet will then take the bird back into a nest or shed.
The spaying or neutering process can take anywhere from four weeks to a year, depending on the species.
In some cases, a new female will be injected with a new virus as part of the procedure.
The process involves injecting a small amount of a protein called viremia protein into the bird’s blood.
This protein is then released into the air, where it can then be picked up by the virus.
Once injected, the virus can then cause the animal to go into shock, which can cause pneumonia and death.
Dr Mark Williams, of the Spay/Neuter Society UK, said the procedure is “a highly complicated procedure” and the vaccine has “many risks”.
“If it’s not administered in the right way, it can kill the bird,” he said.
“A new virus can also enter the bird through its nose or throat.
In these circumstances, it’s crucial that the vaccine and the treatment are delivered in a timely manner, to maximise the chance of surviving the spays and neuters.”
What are the side effects?
A number of side effects of the vaccine are expected.
However, the main side effects are likely to be short-term.
The most common side effect is a sore throat.
However the vaccine does not contain the flu vaccine.
“In the future, if there is an outbreak, people should avoid handling the vaccine or using it,” Dr Williams said.
The UK Spaying and Neutering Society has also launched a petition in support of the new vaccine.
You can find the full list of signatories to the petition here.
How long will it take to develop a new vaccine?
There is no time frame for the vaccine.
The time frame is a product of development.
In the UK, the vaccine will be tested in animals and the results will be presented at the next annual meeting of the European Commission.
If the results are good, the British government could introduce a mandatory vaccination programme.
However it is unclear how long the vaccine could be on the horizon, and how effective it would be in preventing the spread of influenza.
Dr Williams explained: “Our hope is that by the time we get to that point, it will be safe to introduce it in humans.”
But if we fail to get the vaccine approved, the next time we do