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Pigs ‘could be a better model for human influenza’
The results suggest that targeting the lower respiratory tract with aerosol vaccination could be more effective in preventing severe disease.

’Striking difference’ to the same vaccine in pigs and ferrets 

A new study has raised questions about whether ferrets are a good model for studying human influenza.

Ferrets are considered to be a gold standard animal model for influenza research, but scientists now say that S-FLU - a universal flu vaccine candidate - evokes different immune responses in pigs and ferrets.

Findings published in the Journal of Immunology suggest that pigs may offer a more faithful representation of influenza disease in humans.

S-FLU is a weakened strain of flu virus, designed to trigger a response from T cells that are able to react to multiple strains of flu.

Researchers found a ‘striking difference’ in the way that pigs and ferrets responded to the same vaccine. When administered to pigs, the vaccine activated a newly-identified type of T cell, against a flu virus of a different strain. Disease severity was reduced, but the amount of virus stayed the same.

When it was administered to ferrets, however, the viral replication was reduced, as was the amount of virus transmitted to other animals. Scientists said pigs provide a model that is closer in size and has a very similar respiratory system to humans. Pigs are also naturally infected with influenza viruses.

The team’s discovery of a new type of T cell - tissue-resident memory T-cells - also sheds light on how influenza is fought in the lung.

The results also suggest that targeting the lower respiratory tract with aerosol vaccination could be more effective in preventing severe disease in pigs. This finding offers promising evidence that the same could be true in humans.

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”