CIDRAP NEWS SCAN, 20 November 2013
A third of certain fruit bats that are found widely across Africa show evidence of infection with a rabies-like virus, and more than 40% had antibodies to henipaviruses, according to a study yesterday in Nature Communications.
An international group of scientists studied the straw-colored fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, which is Africa's most widely distributed fruit bat and often lives near—and is hunted by—people. It has been identified as a reservoir of potentially zoonotic viruses, according to the team, headed by researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Zoological Society of London.
The investigators measured DNA from blood and tissue samples from more than 2,000 bats from 12 different countries across Africa. They found that 34% of the bats had been infected with Lagos bat virus, which causes a disease similar to rabies, and 42% had been infected with henipaviruses.
GlobalMeatNews, 18 November 2013
A new report has called for a worldwide ban on growth promoters in livestock, warning that antibiotic use in animal agriculture is a major contributor to growing levels of antibiotic resistance.
CIDRAP FLU SCAN, 28 October 2013
Scientists in China have developed an H7N9 influenza vaccine that is now ready for pilot testing, according to a story today in the South China Morning Post.
Vaccine safety assessments and experiments were completed a week ago, said Yao Hangping, MD, a spokesman for a team of scientists at Zhejiang University's First Affiliated Hospital. The vaccine was jointly developed by First Affiliated, the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Food and Drug Control, and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, the story said.
Yao said at least two Chinese manufacturers are interested in producing the vaccine, which needs to undergo pilot tests, human trials, and drug approvals, among other steps. Those processes will take at least 6 months, he said.
Science Daily, 23 October 2013
A common food additive can block a deadly new strain of avian influenza virus from infecting healthy cells, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine in the online journal,PLOS ONE.
The compound, in wide use as a preservative, binds to a part of the flu virus that has never been targeted by any existing antiviral drug, raising hopes for its effectiveness against multi-drug-resistant flu viruses.
"The recent H7N9 outbreak in China this past March had a mortality rate of more than 20 percent," says Michael Caffrey, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at UIC. That strain, which is new, is already showing resistance to the majority of existing drugs used to treat it, Caffrey said. Preventing an outbreak that could lead to mass casualties would be difficult with the current arsenal.
Pig Progress, 2 October 2013
MSD Animal Health (known as Merck Animal Health in the USA and Canada) presented new data showing that MSD Animal Health’s PRRS vaccine is effective against different strains of the PRRS virus in Asia.
The PRRS virus causes reproductive and respiratory disorders in the swine population worldwide and can result in severe economic losses. The vaccine and other swine herd health data were presented at the 6th Asian Pig Veterinary Society Congress held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from September 23-25.
“Because there are two distinct genotypes of the PRRS virus, there has been uncertainty among many farmers about which strain they should vaccinate against,” said Rika Jolie, DVM, Global technical director, MSD Animal Health. “We are pleased to share data supporting the efficacy of MSD Animal Health’s PRRS vaccine against these different genotypes.”