A new gene that determines the sex of malaria mosquitoes has been discovered by scientists at The Pirbright Institute. The gene, named femaleless by the researchers, can be manipulated to prevent female mosquitoes from developing (only females bite to feed on blood and spread disease), which could provide a new means for genetic control of mosquito populations that could be used to break malaria transmission.
The Pirbright Institute will support the NHS Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services (BSPS) and the national NHS Test and Trace programme by providing induction and training for staff joining the new Lighthouse Laboratory in Bracknell. The Lighthouse Laboratory is designed to increase the UK’s COVID-19 diagnostic testing capability and will process COVID-19 samples from drive-in centres as well as swabs that people take at home.
Scientists at The Pirbright Institute have created flightless mosquitoes by editing a specific gene that is required for females to fly. This could provide a more controlled and targeted way of reducing mosquito populations (females bite to obtain a blood meal and thereby spread disease; males do not bite) in select areas where mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and dengue are rife.
The Pirbright Institute’s Annual Report 2019-2020 showcases a year of scientific progress in the world of viral diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp focus the importance of the research that Pirbright carries out on the border between animal and human disease, and in pushing forward One Health Agenda research.
A new test developed by researchers at The Pirbright Institute, in collaboration with the University of Queensland and the University of Oxford, can detect antibodies that prevent cell-to-cell fusion, a method some viruses use to infect neighbouring cells.
The Pirbright Institute will undertake two projects with ECO Animal Health Group plc (ECO) to develop vaccine candidates for porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus (PRRSV). The first project is a tripartite collaboration between The Pirbright Institute, The Vaccine Group (TVG) and ECO whilst the second project is a joint collaboration between Pirbright and ECO.
Studies undertaken at The Pirbright Institute in collaboration with Inovio Pharmaceuticals have shown that a human antibody (2-12C) can provide pigs protection against the 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain of human influenza. This finding indicates that the antibody could also be effective at treating human influenza infections and demonstrates that the pig is an excellent model for assessing antibody therapies.
Studies at Pirbright demonstrate two doses of Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine boosts immune response in pigs
The Pirbright Institute, working in collaboration with the University of Oxford have successfully shown that two doses of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) vaccine produce a greater antibody response than a single dose in pigs.
Scientists at The Pirbright Institute have shown that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), responsible for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is able to enter cells using the receptors of multiple mammalian species. The broad host range of SARS-CoV-2 confirms the potential risk of infection to a wide range of companion animals, livestock and wildlife.
Scientists from The Pirbright Institute are a step closer to developing a vital vaccine for African swine fever (ASF), a pig disease that the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has warned could kill a quarter of the world’s pigs, partly due to the absence of a commercially available vaccine. Their study, published in Vaccines showed that 100 percent of pigs immunised with the new vaccine were protected from a lethal dose of ASF virus (ASFV).