On Monday 4 December, The Pirbright Institute jointly won the Public Engagement category at the fourth annual Understanding Animal Research (UAR) Openness Awards for its contribution to the 360° Laboratory Animal Tours project. The Openness Awards mark the efforts of UK research facilities to be transparent about their use of animals in research, and recognise the innovative ways they are communicating with the public.
Scientists from The Pirbright Institute, in collaboration with others, have found immune cells designed to help clear infections could actually be aggravating respiratory disease caused by bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV). The virus infects the lungs of cattle and is closely related to human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), which mostly affects infants but can also cause longer term complications such as asthma.
The Pirbright Institute has recently been awarded joint funding with The Roslin Institute to research how the deadly Marek’s disease virus (MDV) causes tumours in poultry, and create a more effective vaccine.
MDV is highly contagious and is a major threat to the poultry industry, with losses estimated to be up to $2 billion worldwide. Nearly 22 billion vaccine doses a year are used in an attempt to control the disease, but the virus continues to evolve and form increasingly virulent strains.
The Immunogenetics Group at The Pirbright Institute has identified the position and function of specific genes in the goat’s genetic code that are responsible for antibody production. Up until now, identifying and characterising the genes related to the immune system of animals, including humans, has been a great challenge. However, researchers at Pirbright have applied new methodologies to overcome this.