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Researchers improve speed and efficacy of rabies vaccine
The researchers designed a rabies vaccine that incorporated membrane-anchored BAFF to target B Cells directly.

Vaccine incorporates molecule to target B Cells directly
US researchers have found that adding a specific immune molecule to a rabies vaccine can improve its efficacy.

Writing in the journal PLOS Neglected Diseases, scientists note how they used a signalling protein called B Cell activating factor, which binds directly to B Cells.

Previous research found that the existing rabies vaccine works by activating the immune system’s B cells. However, the vaccine, which contains inactivated virus particles, can take some time to interact with the B cells.

In this study, the researchers designed a rabies vaccine that incorporated membrane-anchored BAFF to target B Cells directly. They then proceeded to test the vaccine on mice. 

Researchers found that the modified vaccine was significantly faster and had a stronger impact on the immune system compared to the standard vaccine.

“This new vaccine strategy significantly enhanced the speed and magnitude of the anti-rabies antibody responses and has the potential to improve the efficacy of currently used in activated RABV-based vaccines,” the authors wrote.

The study notes that more than 59,000 people die every year as a result of rabies, adding that existing vaccines to treat the disease are expensive and complicated to administer.

Scientists hope this new method could improve vaccine efficacy for a range of infectious diseases. However, further research is needed on the safety of the vaccine before it can be tested on humans.

The study was conducted by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University, Pennsylvania.

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Cats Protection launches Christmas animation

News Story 1
 Leading feline charity Cats Protection has launched a heartwarming Christmas animation to raise awareness of the important work it does. The animation is based on a true story of a kitten that went missing earlier this year. Freezing cold and hungry, the kitten was dumped in a box on a roadside and somehow became separated from her brother and sisters.

Thankfully there is a happy end to this tail, and Libby - now named Misty - was eventually reunited with her littermates. Misty’s owner, Amy Smith, said: “Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.” 

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WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.