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Ascough S.,Pirbright Institute | Altmann D.M.,Imperial College London
Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy | Year: 2015

The emergence of a previously unrecognized route of Bacillus anthracis infection over the last few years has led to concern: sporadic anthrax outbreaks among heroin users in northern Europe have demonstrated the severe pathology associated with the newly described 'injectional anthrax'. With a high case fatality rate and non-specific early symptoms, this is a novel clinical manifestation of an old disease. Lack of awareness of this syndrome among emergency room clinicians can lead to a delayed diagnosis among heroin users; indeed, for many health workers in developed countries, where infection by B. anthracis is rare, this may be the first time they have encountered anthrax infections. As the putative route of contamination of the heroin supply is potentially ongoing, it is important that clinicians and public health workers remain vigilant for early signs of injectional anthrax. © 2015 Informa UK, Ltd.

Nair V.,Pirbright Institute
Avian Diseases | Year: 2013

Despite the remarkable progress in our understanding of Marek's disease (MD) and the causative Marek's disease virus (MDV) biology, a number of major features of this complex viral disease remain unknown. Significant information on critical aspects of virus latency in lymphoid cells, and the virus-host interaction in MDV-induced lymphoma, remains to be identified. Moreover, the nature of the unique milieu of the feather follicle epithelial cell that allows cytolytic infection to continue, despite maintaining the latent infection in the lymphoid cells, is not fully understood. Although there has been significant progress in our understanding of the functions of a number of viral genes in the pathogenesis of the disease, the characteristics of the latent infection, how it differs from tumor phase, and whether latency is a prerequisite for the tumor phase are all important questions still to be answered. Reticuloendotheliosis virus-transformed cell lines have been shown to support MDV latency in a manner almost identical to that seen in MDV-transformed cell lines. There are increasing data on the role of epigenetic regulation, including DNA methylation and histone modifications, in maintaining viral latency. Onset of MD tumor is relatively rapid, and recent studies based on chromosomal integration and T-cell repertoire analysis demonstrated the clonal nature of MD lymphomas. Among the viral determinants of oncogenicity, the basic leucine zipper protein Meq is considered to be the most important and the most extensively studied. Deleting the Meq proteins or abolishing some of the important interactions does affect the oncogenicity of the virus. In addition, the noncoding sequences in the viral genome, such as the viral telomerase RNA and the virus-encoded microRNAs, also have significant influence on MDV-encoded oncogenesis. © American Association of Avian Pathologists.

Taylor G.,Pirbright Institute
Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology | Year: 2013

Bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), which is an important cause of respiratory disease in young calves, is genetically and antigenically closely related to human (H)RSV. The epidemiology and pathogenesis of infection with these viruses are similar. The viruses are host-specific and infection produces a spectrum of disease ranging from subclinical to severe bronchiolitis and pneumonia, with the peak incidence of severe disease in individuals less than 6 months of age. BRSV infection in calves reproduces many of the clinical signs associated with HRSV in infants, including fever, rhinorrhoea, coughing, harsh breath sounds and rapid breathing. Although BRSV vaccines have been commercially available for decades, there is a need for greater efficacy. The development of effective BRSV and HRSV vaccines face similar challenges, such as the need to vaccinate at an early age in the presence of maternal antibodies, the failure of natural infection to prevent reinfection, and a history of vaccine-augmented disease. Neutralising monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to the fusion (F) protein of HRSV, which can protect infants from severe HRSV disease, recognise the F protein of BRSV, and vice versa. Furthermore, bovine and human CD8+ T-cells, which are known to be important in recovery from RSV infection, recognise similar proteins that are conserved between HRSV and BRSV. Therefore, not only can the bovine model of RSV be used to evaluate vaccine concepts, it can also be used as part of the preclinical assessment of certain HRSV candidate vaccines. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013.

Knight-Jones T.J.D.,Pirbright Institute | Knight-Jones T.J.D.,Royal Veterinary College VEEPH | Rushton J.,Royal Veterinary College VEEPH
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2013

Although a disease of low mortality, the global impact of foot and mouth disease (FMD) is colossal due to the huge numbers of animals affected. This impact can be separated into two components: (1) direct losses due to reduced production and changes in herd structure; and (2) indirect losses caused by costs of FMD control, poor access to markets and limited use of improved production technologies. This paper estimates that annual impact of FMD in terms of visible production losses and vaccination in endemic regions alone amount to between US$6.5 and 21 billion. In addition, outbreaks in FMD free countries and zones cause losses of >US$1.5 billion a year.FMD impacts are not the same throughout the world:. 1.FMD production losses have a big impact on the world's poorest where more people are directly dependent on livestock. FMD reduces herd fertility leading to less efficient herd structures and discourages the use of FMD susceptible, high productivity breeds. Overall the direct losses limit livestock productivity affecting food security.2.In countries with ongoing control programmes, FMD control and management creates large costs. These control programmes are often difficult to discontinue due to risks of new FMD incursion.3.The presence, or even threat, of FMD prevents access to lucrative international markets.4.In FMD free countries outbreaks occur periodically and the costs involved in regaining free status have been enormous.FMD is highly contagious and the actions of one farmer affect the risk of FMD occurring on other holdings; thus sizeable externalities are generated. Control therefore requires coordination within and between countries. These externalities imply that FMD control produces a significant amount of public goods, justifying the need for national and international public investment.Equipping poor countries with the tools needed to control FMD will involve the long term development of state veterinary services that in turn will deliver wider benefits to a nation including the control of other livestock diseases. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Pirbright Institute | Date: 2014-03-25

The present invention relates to the stabilisation of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) capsids, by specific substitution of amino acids in a specific region of FMDV VP2. The invention provides stabilised FMDV capsids and vaccines against FMD.

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