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New cat virus could reveal insights about hepatitis B
Until now, it was not known that companion animals could contract HBV.

Discovery first step in developing vaccine to prevent infection

Scientists in Australia have discovered hepadnavirus (HBV) in an immunocompromised feline.

Until now, it was not known that companion animals could contract HBV - a virus that is in the same family as hepatitis B. Researchers said that the importance of the finding could not be overstated.

“Finding a new virus responsible for disease is the first step in developing a vaccine to prevent infection,” said Dr Kelly Diehl of the Morris Animal Foundation, which funded the research. “It’s especially exciting if the vaccine could prevent a future cancer from developing in immunocompromised or other vulnerable cats.”

The virus was first discovered by a team at the University of Sydney in an immunodeficient cat that had died of lymphoma. After identifying the virus, the researchers tested stored blood samples from adult cats.

To their surprise, they found evidence of hepadnavirus infection in the samples.

“This is a very exciting discovery,” said corresponding author Julia Beatty, Professor of Feline Medicine at Sydney. “Apart from its relevance for feline health, this discovery helps us understand how hepatitis viruses – which can be deadly – are evolving in all species."

The study, published in the journal Viruses, notes that the discovery presents no risk to humans or other pets.

 

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Sale of microbeads now banned

News Story 1
 The sale of products containing microbeads is now banned across England and Scotland, Defra has confirmed.

As part of government efforts to prevent these plastics ending up in the marine environment, retailers can no longer sell rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads. These tiny plastics were often added to products including face scrubs, soaps, toothpaste and shower gels.

Just a single shower is thought to send 100,000 of these beads down the drain and into the ocean, where it can cause serious harm to marine life. A ban on manufacturing products containing microbeads previously came into force in January this year. 

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News Shorts
George Eustice announces funding for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea

Farming minister George Eustice has announced a 5.7million funding package to help farmers tackle Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD).

The funding will be available in England for three years through the Rural Development Programme and farmers will be able to apply for one-to-one farm advisory visits by a veterinary practitioner.

The project will recruit local vets who will then work with keepers of breeding cattle to tackle BVD on their farms.