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Professor G.M. Allan

Image of Professor Allan
Professor Gordon Allan

BSc (First Class Honours): Biological Sciences,
Ulster Polytechnic, 1979;
PhD Queen's University, Belfast, 1994:
"Studies on the characterisation, epidemiology and
pathogenesis of porcine circovirus"


Contact Information
Tel:  +44 (0)28 9097 5786
Fax:  +44 (0)28 9097 5877

Main areas of research

Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) is a swine disease with a massive negative economic impact on the swine industry globally.  Professor Allan and his team isolated and characterised the causative agent, a new virus of swine (porcine circovirus 2 [PCV2]), from diseased animals and successfully demonstrated that PCV2 was the infectious agent necessary for full clinical development of PMWS.

PCV2 has been associated with a number of disease syndromes or pathological conditions in pigs during the last 15 years, and the terminology 'porcine circovirus diseases' (PCVD) was proposed to replace existing acronyms.  PMWS is considered the most significant PCVD, and therefore most of the prevention/control and research efforts have been focused on it.  At its height in 2005/6, it was estimated that PMWS cost EU pig producers in excess of 600 million EURO per year.  Subsequently, now that the disease has been reported in all major pig producing countries around the world, global production losses related to untreated PCVD can be estimated in billions of £/$/euro per year.  The impact of PMWS on food safety and veterinary public health is also important as PMWS-associated immunosuppression results in increased carcase contamination by food-borne pathogens and increased shedding at slaughter, and an associated increase in the use of antimicrobial agents in the attempted control of PMWS-associated disease.  The latter provides an increased potential for selecting for antimicrobial resistant bacteria and drug residues in pig meat.

The initial isolation and characterisation of PCV2 by Prof Allan and colleagues in QUB, USASK and Merial, the filing of patents and the subsequent body of research that lead to an understanding of the disease process and development of diagnostics and vaccines, has been successfully deployed around the world to control this devastating disease.  Vaccines to PCV2 are now sold under licence by four multinational companies in all pig producing countries, with outstanding results.

PCV2 vaccination has been one of the most extraordinary success stories of pig health control and is protecting the health and growth performance of many millions of pigs around the world.  No less importantly, the results at farm level show that it is more than fulfilling its promise to be extremely cost-effective.  The successful application of this vaccine against the diseases of major economic importance associated with PCV2 is internationally recognised.  Launched in 2006, the PCV2 vaccine sales captured 5.4% of the swine vaccine market.  The dramatic positive impacts on pig farms, with mortality rates falling between 50 and 90%, has driven remarkable year on year increases of PCV2 vaccine usage and their share of the pig vaccine market (2007, 15.8%; 2008, 26.8%).  This impact is predicted to continue with market share estimates for PCV2 sales in 2013 at 30.7%.


Krakowka, S., Ellis, J.A., Meehan, B.M., Kennedy, S., McNeilly, F. and Allan, G.M.(1999). Reproduction of PMWS in gnotobiotic pigs.  Veterinary Pathology, 36(5): 515.

Ellis, J.A., Krakowka, S., Lairmore, M., Haines, D.M., Bratanich, A., Clark, E.G., Allan, G.M., Konoby, C., Meehan, B.M., Kennedy, S. and McNeilly, F. (1999). Reproduction of lesions of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome in gnotobiotic piglets.  Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 11(1): 3-14. [Cites, 183]

Cottrell, T.S., Friendship, R.M., Dewey, C.E., Josephson, G., Allan, G.M., Walker, I.W. and McNeilly, F. (1999). A study investigating epidemiological risk factors for porcine circovirus type 2 in Ontario.  The Pig Journal, 44: 10-17.

Allan, G.M., McNeilly, F., Meehan, B.M., Kennedy, S., Mackie, D.P., Ellis, J.A., Clark, E.G., Espuna, E., Saubi, N., Riera, P. and Botner, A. (1999). Isolation and characterisation of circoviruses from pigs with wasting syndromes in Spain, Denmark, and N.Ireland.  Veterinary Microbiology, 66(2): 115-123. [Cites, 115]

Allan, G.M., Kennedy, S., McNeilly, F., Foster, J.C., Ellis, J.A., Krakowka, S., Meehan, B.M. and Adair, B.M. (1999). Experimental reproduction of severe wasting disease by co-infection of pigs with porcine circovirus and porcine parvovirus.  Journal of Comparative Pathology, 121(1): 1-11. [Cites, 234]

Meehan, B.M., McNeilly, F., Todd, D., Kennedy, S., Jewhurst, V.A., Ellis, J.A., Hassard, L.E., Clark, E.G., Haines, D.M. and Allan, G.M. (1998). Characterization of novel circovirus DNAs associated with wasting syndromes in pigs.  Journal of General Virology, 79(9): 2171-2179. [Cites, 256]

Allan, G.M., McNeilly, F., Kennedy, S., Daft, B., Clark, E.G., Ellis, J.A., Haines, D.M., Meehan, B.M. and Adair, B.M. (1998). Isolation of porcine circovirus-like viruses from pigs with a wasting disease in the USA and Europe.  Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 10(1): 3-10. [Cites, 256]

Patents include the following

Allan, G.M. (Belfast, GB), Meehan, B.M.(Belfast, GB), Ellis JA (Saskatchewan, C.A.), Krakowka, G.S. (Columbus, O.H.), Audonnet, J-CF (Lyons, F.R.) Porcine circovirus and paravovirus vaccine.  United States Patent 6217883; Apr 17 2001.

Allan, G. (Belfast, GB), Meehan, B. (Belfast, GB), Clark, E.(Saskatoon, C.A.), Ellis, J. (Saskatoon, C.A.), Haines, D. (Saskatoon, CA), Hassard, L. (Saskatoon, C.A.), Harding, J. (Humboldt, C.A.), Charreyre, C.E. (Saint-Laurent de Mure, FR), Chappuis, G.E. (Lyons, F.R.), McNeilly, F. (Newtownards, GB).  Porcine circovirus vaccine and diagnostics reagents.  United States Patent 6368601; Apr 09 2002.