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Immune system ‘could aggravate BRSV’
Scientists say large numbers of neutrophils contribute to some of the short term clinical signs associated with BRSV.
Decreasing neutrophil response could improve clinical signs - study  

Immune cells designed to clear infections could worsen respiratory disease caused by bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), according to new research.

The team of international scientists behind the study are the first to simultaneously examine hundreds of proteins that are involved in the response of calves to BRSV, which infects the lungs of cattle.

Findings published in PLOS ONE suggest there is a link between the numbers of immune cells, or neutrophils, clinical signs of disease, lung tissue damage and the amount of virus in the lungs of infected calves.

It is thought that neutrophils aid the clearance of of BRSV - and the closely related human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) - by removing infected cells. When they appear in excessive numbers, however, they appear to have the opposite effect, releasing harmful substances that destroy the lung and block the airways.

Scientists say large numbers of neutrophils contribute to some of the short term clinical signs associated with BRSV, such as breathing problems.

An exaggerated neutrophil response can also result in longer-term effects, the study suggests. This is down to their ability to remodel lung tissue, which increases the time it takes for clinical signs to clear, even after the virus has been eliminated. In severe and early human RSV infections, it is thought that over-stimulation of neutrophils could increase the likelihood of asthma.

Dr Geraldine Taylor, honorary fellow at Pirbright Institute, said: “Our findings suggest treatments that decrease the response of neutrophils could improve clinical signs both in the short and long term.”

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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.