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Fat 'crucial' for Marek's disease virus infection
Worldwide losses relating to MDV are estimated to cost up to $2 billion.
Researchers identify new pathways involved in development of the disease

The storage and production of fat is crucial for Marek’s disease virus (MDV) to replicate in chickens, according to new research.

The study, published in the Journal of Virology, identifies new pathways that are involved in the development of the disease. Scientists say these can help to generate control strategies for the virus which could reduce its spread.

Study author Dr Shahriar Behboudi from The Pirbright Institute said: “Some viruses exploit host cell machinery to produce components required for their replication and spread. We found that MDV uses the host cells to produce and store fats, contributing to the replication of the virus and possibly clogging the arteries.”

MDV is a highly contagious disease of chickens that leads to the build-up of fatty substances in the arteries. The disease is a major threat to the poultry industry, with worldwide losses relating to MDV estimated to cost up to $2 billion.

Researchers identified chemical inhibitors that disrupted two different but connected fat-production pathways which significantly reduced virus replication.

The scientists say that while these inhibitors helped them to identify the cellular mechanisms the virus disrupts, they would not be suitable for anti-viral development owing to their side effects. There would also be the possibility of transfer to meat and eggs.

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.