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New cat virus could reveal insights about hepatitis B
Until now, it was not known that companion animals could contract HBV.

Discovery first step in developing vaccine to prevent infection

Scientists in Australia have discovered hepadnavirus (HBV) in an immunocompromised feline.

Until now, it was not known that companion animals could contract HBV - a virus that is in the same family as hepatitis B. Researchers said that the importance of the finding could not be overstated.

“Finding a new virus responsible for disease is the first step in developing a vaccine to prevent infection,” said Dr Kelly Diehl of the Morris Animal Foundation, which funded the research. “It’s especially exciting if the vaccine could prevent a future cancer from developing in immunocompromised or other vulnerable cats.”

The virus was first discovered by a team at the University of Sydney in an immunodeficient cat that had died of lymphoma. After identifying the virus, the researchers tested stored blood samples from adult cats.

To their surprise, they found evidence of hepadnavirus infection in the samples.

“This is a very exciting discovery,” said corresponding author Julia Beatty, Professor of Feline Medicine at Sydney. “Apart from its relevance for feline health, this discovery helps us understand how hepatitis viruses – which can be deadly – are evolving in all species."

The study, published in the journal Viruses, notes that the discovery presents no risk to humans or other pets.

 

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Born Free video highlights how humans are to blame for COVID-19

News Story 1
 Wildlife charity Born Free has released a video emphasising the importance of changing the ways in which humans treat wildlife in order to prevent pandemics from occurring in the future.

The video, narrated by founder patron Joanna Lumley OBE, says: "To deal with the very immediate threat of another global catastrophe, we have to focus on ending the destruction and conversion of natural habitats and the devastating impact of the wildlife trade.

"The vast majority of these viruses originated in wild animals before infecting us. Destroying and exploiting nature puts us in closer contact with wildlife than ever before."

Born Free has compiled an online resource with information on how to take action and improve protections for wildlife here.

To view the video, please click here.

Images (c) Jan Schmidt-Burbach. 

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RVC opens 2021 Summer Schools applications

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has opened applications for its 2021 Summer Schools, with students in Years 10, 11 and 12 invited to apply.

Taking place between July and August 2021, the event gives budding vets from all backgrounds first-hand insight into what it's like to study at the Campus.

Much of this year's content is likely to be delivered virtually, including online lectures and practical demonstrations, but the RVC hopes to welcome each of the participants to campus for at least one day to gain some hands-on experience.

For more information about the Schools and to apply, visit: rvc.uk.com/SummerSchools Applications close on the 2 March 2021.