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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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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

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News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.