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New insights into devastating cattle disease
Trypanosomiasis causes economic hardship through fever, anaemia and weight loss.
Finding could lead to new treatments for African trypanosomiasis.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute have gained fresh insights into the parasite that causes animal African trypanosome (AAT) infection, also known as sleeping sickness.

The study, published in PLOS Pathogens, reveals key differences in the biology of the Trypanosome congolense parasite, which causes infection in animals, compared with the closely related T. brucei, which affects humans.

Scientists hope their findings will lead to new drugs for AAT and support further studies into the T.congolese parasite, which is spread by biting flies and mainly affects cattle in sub-Saharan Africa.

The team also hopes that the findings will explain how drug resistance has hampered efforts to treat the disease. The same drugs have been used to manage infections for decades, and new therapies are urgently needed.

“The scale of animal African trypanosome infections is enormous, causing devastation to livestock, especially for cattle farmers,” explains Professor Liam Morrison of the Roslin Institute. “There are limited treatments available, and drug resistance is a significant problem. This research forms a valuable resource for the T. congolense parasite, which we hope will underpin more research to target this important pathogen.”

Trypanosomiasis is a chronic disease of livestock that causes fever, anaemia and weight loss. The condition is of most importance in cattle, but other animals, including dogs, can also be affected.

“Trypanosomiasis is a major problem for livestock owners in Africa, Asia and Latin America,” explains Michael Pearce from industry partner, GALVmed. “Developing new drug products is costly and it takes many years to develop and register safe and efficacious treatments.

“Understanding the metabolism of parasites such a trypanosomes helps researchers identify candidate molecules with the best chance of translation in to a successful treatment,” he said.

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Laura Muir wins gold at Commonwealth Games

News Story 1
 Veterinary surgeon and Olympic silver-medalist Laura Muir scooped the gold medal in the 1500m final Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

Winning Scotland's 12th title of the games, Muir finished in four minutes 2.75 seconds, collecting her second medal in 24 hours.

Dr Muir commented on her win: "I just thought my strength is in my kick and I just tried to trust it and hope nobody would catch me. I ran as hard as I could to the line.

"It is so nice to come here and not just get one medal but two and in such a competitive field. Those girls are fast. It means a lot." 

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News Shorts
Views sought on NOAH Compendium

Users of the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) Compendium app and website are being asked to share their views on how it can be improved.

In a new survey, users are asked about some suggested future developments, such as notifications for new and updated datasheets, sharing links to datasheets, and enhanced search functionality.

It comes after NOAH ceased publication of the NOAH Compendium book as part of its sustainability and environmental commitments. The website and the app will now be the main routes to access datasheets and view any changes.