The Pirbright Institute, which is home to several World Reference Laboratories for viral diseases of livestock, is using its equipment and expertise in diagnostics and disease surveillance to support COVID-19 testing in the UK. The Institute is helping in three key areas, all of which will enable the UK to be able to increase its capacity to test both patients and NHS staff and fulfil the Government’s pledge to deliver 100,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests by the end of this month (April).
Scientists in the Non-Vesicular Reference Laboratory (NVRL) at The Pirbright Institute have confirmed an outbreak of African horse sickness (AHS) in Thailand. AHS is the most lethal viral disease of horses known and the rapid diagnostic services provided by Pirbright has enabled authorities to respond quickly to the outbreak, the first that south-east Asia has ever experienced.
Scientists at The Pirbright Institute have engineered synthetic antibody molecules that can be administered to poultry to reduce the symptoms of influenza, as well as decreasing the amount of influenza virus they shed into the environment. These results suggest that there is potential for their use as immunotherapy treatments to reduce the burden of influenza in poultry.