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New Equine Virus test launched
NEV is often misdiagnosed or hidden by other diseases that cause similar symptoms.
Test to prevent misdiagnosis of often fatal disease

The first commercial diagnostic test for New Equine Virus (NEV) has been launched.

First discovered in 2013, NEV is often misdiagnosed or hidden by other diseases that cause similar symptoms, such as anaemia and neurological problems.

It is most often confused with the Swamp Fever virus (EIAV) and Equine Herpesvirus (EHV).

Now, thanks to research by equine biotech firm Equigerminal, vets, laboratories and horse owners will be able to identify this often fatal disease and administer the appropriate treatment.

The test requires a vet to take a blood sample from the horse and send it to the Equigerminal lab. The blood is then analysed and the results are returned to the owner or vet.

When the results are returned, the horse can be given treatment and the spread of the disease can be prevented. Currently, treatment is aimed towards improving the general wellbeing of the horse, monitoring its health and boosting the immune system.

NEV was discovered by Portuguese scientist and veterinary surgeon Isabel Fidalgo Carvalho while completing her PhD in Equine Sciences at the Universities of Oporto and Pittsburgh.

“During my time at University and at Equigerminal, I noticed unusual anaemia and severe neurological signs in horses, which in my PhD I wrongly hypothesized to be attributed to Swamp Fever,” she said. “I then realised, through the samples, that this virus was actually closer to equine HIV – New Equine Virus, or NEV”.

After her discovery, Carvalho launched Equigerminal with fellow scientist Alexandre Vieira Pires.

“We have spent the last five years developing a diagnostic test and a potential cure for NEV.” explains Pires.“We now need to raise awareness of the problem and help vets to diagnose this disease correctly.”

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.