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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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Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoo’s on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

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BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVA’s priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."