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Researchers report 'promising' ASF vaccine breakthrough
The vaccine was created by deleting a series of genes from the ASF virus.

Chinese teams develop ‘safe and effective’ vaccine

Researchers from China’s Harbin Veterinary Institute have reported that an African Swine Fever (ASF) vaccine has been developed which has proved safe and effective under laboratory testing.

In a research paper published in Science China Life Sciences, the research team stated that the live vaccine was created by deleting a series of genes from the virus using the country’s first ASF strain as a backbone.

The researchers said: “We used the Chinese ASFV HLJ/18 as a backbone to generate six viruses bearing different gene deletions, and found that HLJ/18-7GD, which has seven genes deleted, is fully attenuated in pigs, has a low risk of converting to a virulent strain, and could induce solid protection in pigs against lethal ASFV challenge.

“HLJ/-18-7GD has been fully evaluated and proven to be safe and effective against ASFV. We therefore expect that this vaccine will play an important role in the control of ASFV.”

Safety evaluations showed that, after intramuscular injection, the HLJ/18-7GD virus did not appear in the blood or any other organs, and only remained in the lymph nodes of pigs for a short period. From this, researchers surmised that HLJ/18-7GD is “highly unlikely to convert to a virulent strain during its replication in pigs.”

Testing also found that the vaccine tested safely in pregnant sows and did not cause abortion when administered in the early, middle and late stages of pregnancy, nor limit the rate of piglets born.

Development of the vaccine was overseen by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. At present, there has been no estimate given as to when it could be put into production.

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BEVA gives vets access to free membership for three months

News Story 1
 BEVA has announced that it is cutting membership renewal charges for the next three months in order to support all veterinary professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memberships for all existing BEVA members will be extended until 30 June 2020. Veterinary professionals who are not members of BEVA will also be able to sign up for a free membership until 30 June 2020.

BEVA president Tim Mair said: "In this extraordinary time of global crisis our profession, as with many industries, is under immense pressure. By offering free membership we are giving equine vets easy access to a wealth of supportive resources and online CPD."

To sign up please visit the BEVA website.

Image (c) BEVA. 

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LOVE Gorgie Farm seeking veterinary volunteers

LOVE Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh is looking for people with veterinary and animal care experience, who would be interested in volunteering to help care for its animals during these difficult times.

The community-owned charity farm opened to the public only last month, but decided to close temporarily amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Its three-person team is working to care for the animals behind the scenes and the farm is now operating as a food bank for the public, delivering free breakfasts to local school children.

In an effort to build a contingency plan to secure the welfare of its animals, LOVE Gorgie Farm is looking for volunteers who would be able to step in if any team members fell sick or needed to self-isolate.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact gorgie@l-o-v-e.org.uk