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Novel vaccine protects against RSV
calf
The vaccine was used to immunise five calves aged three-to-six weeks, via two injections four weeks apart. (stock photo)
Success with cattle offers hope for human vaccine
 
A novel vaccine has shown success in protecting cattle from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, and could offer hope for a human vaccine, researchers say.

RSV causes the majority of respiratory disease in cattle and is responsible for substantial economic loss. In humans, it causes serious bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. There are estimated to be more than 250,000 human deaths a year as a result of RSV infection.

Currently there is no licensed vaccine for humans and cattle vaccines have noted issues with safety and effectiveness.

Research on the novel vaccine was conducted by a team of experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the US, the Pirbright Institute in the UK and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Switzerland.

The vaccine was used to immunise five calves aged three-to-six weeks, via two injections four weeks apart. It contains a single, structurally engineered RSV protein, which is a stabilised version of the RSV fusion (F) glycoprotein it its initial conformation, pre-F. Other vaccines have used the same protein in its final conformation, post-F, but scientists say the immune response is much lower.

A second group of five calves were injected with a post-F protein, while the third group received two placebo injections of saline.

Four weeks later, calves in all three groups were infected with RSV. Of those injected with pre-F, four out of five were protected from RSV viral replication in the upper and lower respiratory tract and calves had high levels of neutralising antibodies - more than 100 fold higher than those given the post-F vaccine. However, RSV was detected in all calves given the post-F vaccine or the placebo.

Researchers say their findings, which were published in npj Vaccines, support further work on pre-F vaccines to protect humans and cattle from RSV. NIAID recently started testing a similar vaccine in a phase one human trial.

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Giraffe Conservation Foundation named BVNA’s charity of the year

News Story 1
 BVNA president Wendy Nevins has named The Giraffe Conservation Foundation as the association’s charity of the year for 2017/2018.

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation dedicates its work to a sustainable future for wild giraffe populations. Wendy Nevins said: ‘I have chosen the Giraffe Conservation Foundation for the BVNA Charity of the Year because I have always thought Giraffes were magnificent animals.

‘I also think it is important that we look at the wider issue of conservation and education across all species.’  

News Shorts
Scientists win award for openness in animal research

UK scientists have won an award for the 360ş Laboratory Animal Tours project, which offered the public an online, interactive tour of four research facilities that are usually restricted access.

The project won a public engagement award at the Understanding Animal Research (UAR) Openness Awards, which recognise UK research facilities for transparency on their use of animals in research, as well as innovation in communicating with the public.

The tour was created by the Pirbright Institute, the University of Oxford, the University of Bristol and MRC Harwell Institute.