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Pigs useful for testing influenza antibody treatment, study finds
"We are very excited that the pig model is useful for testing and refining antibody treatments for life-threatening influenza infections" - Dr Elma Tchilian.
Researchers discover human antibody that can neutralise H1N1 swine flu strain.

A human antibody has been proven to protect pigs against the strain of influenza that caused the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.

The finding by researchers at The Pirbright Institute suggests that the antibody could be effective at treating human influenza infections. It also shows that pigs are a useful model for testing influenza antibody treatments.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the study is published in the Journal of Immunology.

“We are very excited that the pig model is useful for testing and refining antibody treatments for life-threatening influenza infections,” commented Dr Elma Tchilian, head of the Mucosal Immunology Group at Pirbright. “I hope that research into many other infectious diseases will also benefit from this model.”

Given their success in treating viruses such as Ebola, the use of antibodies to protect against influenza is of great interest to scientists. But while several influenza antibodies have progressed to clinical trials, the outcome in humans has been disappointing.

The latest study found that the 2-12C human antibody can neutralise the H1N1 2009 flu pandemic virus in pigs, and therefore provide protection. Both the amount of virus and signs of infection in the lungs were reduced in pigs that received treatment.

The success of this study in pigs suggests that antibody therapies have the potential to work in humans. It builds on previous research by Pirbright, which showed that pigs are good models for influenza vaccine studies.

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Face covering rules expanded

News Story 1
 New rules came into force in England on Saturday (8 August) making it mandatory for clients to wear a face covering in veterinary practices.

The rules, which also apply to cinemas, museums and places of worship, follow a recent spike in coronavirus cases. All clients in England must now wear a face covering when inside a veterinary practice unless they are exempt for age, health or equality reasons. 

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News Shorts
Poultry webinar proves big hit with vets

A week long webinar series dedicated to backyard poultry has proven to be a big hit with vets, attracting more than 300 participants since its launch.

The series focuses on a variety of topics, including how to spot and treat common diseases, practical advice for clinical examinations and the importance of preventative healthcare.

The webinars can now be accessed online. To find out more and to view the series, visit the MSD Animal Health Hub.