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Swine flu development could advance human treatments
The pig antibodies could enable a greater understanding of how flu viruses evolve.
Pirbright scientists develop first pig antibodies against swine influenza.

Scientists at The Pirbright Institute have generated the first pig antibodies against swine influenza (flu) that protect against reinfection and recognise the same parts of the flu virus as human antibodies.

Their findings, published in PLOS Pathogens, suggest they could be used to develop and assess human antibody therapies and their delivery methods. The pig antibodies could also enable a greater understanding of how flu viruses evolve and inform decisions about annual flu vaccine selection. 

In the study, Pirbright worked with the University of Oxford, The Francis Crick Institute and The Pirbright Livestock Antibody Hub to generate the first pig antibodies in the laboratory (called monoclonal antibodies or mAbs) that target the influenza virus.

The mAbs recognise the same two main sites of the flu virus haemagglutinin protein targeted by human antibodies, and were found to be just as effective at neutralising the swine flu strain that caused the 2009 pandemic.

The findings show that pig mAbs are more closely matched to human antibodies and could, therefore, improve the reliability of human vaccine selection. 

Dr Elma Tchilian, mucosal immunology group leader at Pirbright, said: “This demonstrates that pigs and humans, which are both natural hosts for influenza viruses, generate very similar immune responses.” 

Professor John Hammond, leader of The Pirbright Livestock Antibody Hub, added: “These results are a fantastic demonstration of how The Pirbright Livestock Antibody Hub can promote the use of new tools and methods, providing the opportunity to examine detailed antibody responses to inform the next generation of vaccines and therapies. This work reinforces the use of pigs as powerful model to predict human responses in infection and vaccination.”

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Webinar to focus on equine worm control

News Story 1
 Vets, veterinary nurses and RAMAs are being invited to join a free CPD webinar on late winter and early spring equine worm control.

Hosted by Zoetis vet Dr Wendy Talbot, the webinar aims to help prescribers understand which parasites are of most concern at this time of year. It will also cover how to assess parasite risk, selecting a suitable wormer and spring wormer plans, concluding with a Q&A session.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, 18 March at 10 am and will be repeated at 7 pm for those unable to listen during the day. To book the 10 am webinar, click here, and to register for the 7 pm webinar, click here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Avian influenza confirmed in Lancashire

A case of highly pathogenic (HPAI H5N8) avian influenza has been confirmed in two captive peregrine falcons on a non-commercial, non-poultry premises near Skelmersdale, West Lancashire.

Following a risk assessment, APHA has declared that no disease control zones have been put in place surrounding this non-commercial, non-poultry premises.

Eighteen cases of HPAI H5N8 have now been identified in poultry and other captive birds in England. A housing order for poultry and captive birds introduced by Defra to control the spread of the disease expired on 31 March, although bird keepers in England are still required by law to comply with biosecurity measures.

For more information, please click here.