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New vaccine protects horses against strangles
The Strangvac vaccine protected over 80 per cent of horses in the study.
Strangvac highlights potential of DNA sequencing for human and animal health 

A new protein-based vaccine that protects horses against strangles could available by 2020.

Scientists from the Animal Health Trust (AHT), the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the Karolinska Institute and Interval AB have developed the Strangvac vaccine to protect horses from this devastating disease.

Writing in the journal Vaccine, the researchers report the results of three experiments on 16 horses. The horses were exposed to the strangles infection and monitored twice a day for eight days.

They found that, of the 16 horses vaccinated with Strangvac, just three started to show clinical signs of disease. None of the horses developed adverse reactions following vaccination.  

“We are delighted to have shown that our Strangvac vaccine protected over 80 per cent of horses from this dreadful disease,” said Prof. Jan-Ingmar Flock, CEO of Intervacc AB. “Strangles is a scourge of the equine world and the development of Strangvac has the potential to prevent many thousands of horses from falling ill each year.”

“Strangvac is an extremely exciting vaccine” explains Dr. Andrew Waller, head of bacteriology at the AHT. “The vaccine was designed using information from sequencing the DNA of Streptococcus equi and highlights the potential that the genome-era heralds for improving the health of animals and people.

He continued: “Improving the health of horses is a core aim of the Animal Health Trust and we are proud to have helped make this vaccine a reality towards finally breaking the hold this disease currently has on our horses.”
 
“Transfer of the manufacturing process and production of commercial batches are underway towards the registration and launch of Strangvac,” continued Prof. Flock. “We anticipate that Strangvac will be available for use during 2020.”

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UK a step closer to ivory ban

News Story 1
 A UK ban on ivory sales is one step closer to coming into force, as the government has introduced the Ivory Bill to parliament. The ban covers items of all ages, rather than just ivory carved after 1947. Anyone breaching the ban will face an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

Conservationists have welcomed the bill, which comes less than six weeks after the government published the results of a consultation on this issue. Around 55 African elephants are now slaughtered for their ivory every day and the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth £17 billion a year.  

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Strategic alliance to support development of agri-food sector

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast have formed a new strategic alliance that will see both institutions form a research and education partnership.

Under the agreement, the organisations will pool their resources and expertise to support the development of the agri-food sector. It will work across three core themes: enabling innovation, facilitating new ways of working and partnerships.