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Leaky vaccines help reduce transmission of Marek’s disease
Leaky vaccines are currently the most commonly used method of controlling Marek's disease.

Study finds imperfect vaccines control severity of viral disease

A new study conducted on chickens infected with Marek’s disease has revealed that vaccines that do not prevent onward transmission or infection are more effective in controlling the severity of the disease than previously thought.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and the US Department of Agriculture’s Avian Disease and Oncology laboratory (ADOL), conducted the study to analyse how leaky vaccines impact overall populations.

One group of chickens received a leaky vaccine – this contained a related live virus originating from turkeys, which triggers an immune response, but no symptoms. While a second control group was given a sham vaccine, which contained no biological material. Both groups were then infected with Marek’s disease virus and placed with different sets of unvaccinated chickens for 48 hours.

More than 97 per cent of the birds became infected. However, the unvaccinated chickens that had contact with those who had received the leaky vaccine were less likely to develop full-blown Marek’s disease and there were also fewer deaths. This was found to be a result of vaccinated birds transmitting fewer copies of Marek’s disease virus.

Lead author Dr Richard Bailey, who is also a research fellow at the Roslin Institute, said: “In our study, we found that leaky vaccines can provide benefit in terms of reducing the presence and severity of symptoms, and mortality, caused by Marek’s disease even for unvaccinated chickens. We need further research to understand how this effect changes as the virus mutates and in other strains of chickens.” 

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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