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Novel technique may cut cost of bronchitis vaccine production
Infectious bronchitis remains a major problem in the global poultry industry. Because
Researchers grow IBV cell cultures in the laboratory

New research led by The Pirbright Institute could result in low-cost infectious bronchitis vaccine (IBV) production.

In a study published in the Journal of Virology, researchers describe how they genetically modified an IBV strain so that it could be grown in cell cultures in the laboratory, rather than inside hen eggs.

It is hoped the technique could lower the cost of vaccine production and make the process more efficient.

“To find the genetic code that made the lab strain able to replicate in cell cultures, we scanned the gene that produces the spike protein—the protein which enables the virus to attach to and enter cells—and found a genetic sequence which was unique to that virus,” explained Dr Bickerton, leader of the Coronaviruses group at Pirbright.  

“We were able to cut this sequence out of the lab strain and replace it in the vaccine strain to see if this allowed the vaccine strain to replicate in cell cultures too.”

Interestingly, the team discovered the sequence which allows lab growth of IBV strains results in the change of only three amino acids in the spike protein.

Dr Bickerton adds: “We can now apply this modification to other IBV vaccine strains, which will help improve the speed and efficiency of IBV studies and can eventually be applied to vaccine production”.

Despite there being an array of vaccines in existence, infectious bronchitis remains a major problem in the global poultry industry. Because the majority of IBV strains do not grow in cell cultures, IBV vaccines are grown in hen's eggs -  a process that is cumbersome and expensive.

Researchers estimate that a 10 per reduction in IBV incidence could save the global poultry industry £654 million. Boosting the efficiency and speed of IBV vaccine production is, therefore, crucial to reducing economic losses and welfare problems in chickens.

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ISFM announces first veterinary nurse conference

News Story 1
 The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) - the veterinary division of International Cat Care - has announced its first annual conference dedicated to veterinary nurses. The day offers an opportunity to meet up with colleagues and enjoy more than five hours of stimulating CPD.

The conference is being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Stratford-Upon-Avon, on Saturday 15 September 2018. Tickets are £95 per person and include lunch, coffee breaks, downloadable proceedings and CPD certificate. For details and to book your place visit  

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WSAVA awards Australian vet with 'Next Generation’ award

Australian vet Dr Guyan Weerasinghe has been crowned winner of the WSAVA ‘Next Generation’ Veterinary Award. The award recognises those who graduated within the last 10 years and have made a significant contribution to the welfare of companion animals and the veterinary profession as a whole.

Besides maintaining a small animal caseload, Dr Weerasinghe works for the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture where he is involved with animal disease surveillance and increasing the public health risks in veterinary practice. He also collaborates on various One Health projects across Australia and gives regular talks on the impact of climate change on animal health and welfare.

Dr Weerasinghe will receive his award at the WSAVA World Congress 2018 (25-28 September).