Dec 6, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Researchers in Canada who found hepatitis in ferrets after injecting the animals with an experimental vaccine for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) are urging caution as other investigators develop and test SARS vaccines.As reported in the November issue of the Journal of Virology, the study involved a vaccine developed by senior author Jingxin Cao, PhD, of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiological Laboratory in Winnipeg, Man. Cao had created a vaccine from recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (rMVA) and the distinctive spike protein that marks the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The trial vaccine is called rMVA-S.The team chose ferrets for the study on the basis of their reported susceptibility to SARS infection, Cao told CIDRAP News.At the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health’s Biosafety Level 4 lab in Winnipeg, three ferrets were injected with the rMVA-S vaccine, three with parental MVA, and three with saline solution. They received booster immunizations 2 weeks later.Then the ferrets were exposed intranasally to the SARS virus, which infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774 between November 2002 and July 2003.On the plus side, immunization with rMVA-S induced a rapid immune response following exposure to the virus, the researchers wrote. The ferrets displayed no clinical signs of illness, but viral RNA was found in pharyngeal swabs and blood samples taken from all the ferrets.But researchers unexpectedly discovered a downside when they checked the ferrets’ liver health. Ferrets vaccinated with rMVA-S and exposed to SARS-CoV had elevated levels of an enzyme that indicates liver damage. Examination of liver sections showed that the ferrets had severe hepatitis. Only mild hepatitis was found in the ferrets injected with parental MVA or saline.It’s uncommon to perform the tests that revealed the hepatitis, said Kelly Keith, acting communications manager for the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health. This study will help ensure that any other SARS vaccine will be safer, as scientists should know to check for this possible side effect.”Extra caution should be taken in proposed human trials of SARS vaccines due to the potential liver damage from immunization and virus infection,” the research report states.Cao said he hopes that others recognize the significance of the hepatitis among the vaccinated ferrets. “For future human vaccine development, we must pay attention to that effect,” he said.The lead author of the study, Hana Weingartl, PhD, head of special pathogens for Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, said she and her fellow researchers are seeking a grant to continue their work. “We would like to look more closely at why we saw the liver damage in those animals,” she said. “It would be good to know what not to do.”The findings underscore how little is understood about SARS, which emerged in southern China in November 2002. Since its discovery, scientists have raced to contain it and develop a vaccine. Weingartl and Cao’s study is one of several vaccine investigations in various stages in several countries.Researchers need a better understanding of how the virus damages the host, Weingartl said.In an unrelated SARS vaccine investigation, the Chinese government yesterday announced that a vaccine proved safe and effective in a phase 1 clinical trial. Thirty-six volunteers who had been vaccinated reported no unusual physical reactions after 56 days, Agence France-Presse reported (AFP). In addition, antibodies were found in 24 of those vaccinated, the story said.Testing began in May with 18 men and 18 women from 21 to 40 years old following what the government termed successful animal tests, AFP reported. The vaccine won’t be ready for commercial use until two more testing phases are completed.Weingartl H, Czub M, Czub S, et al. Immunization with modified vaccinia virus Ankara-based recombinant vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome is associated with enhanced hepatitis in ferrets. J Virology 2004;78(22):12672-6 [Abstract]
The unique beach track doesn’t attract the best horses, but plenty of big-name jockeys from both codes have added their name to its roll of honour, something O’Brien was keen to do after drawing a blank on his only previous visit four years ago. Sister Slew was always prominent and hit the front two furlongs out before being driven clear to score by three lengths from Like Magic, putting another winner on the scoreboard for the in-form Gordon Elliott team. The winning jockey said: “It’s something different and it’s nice to ride a winner here. Gordon was quite confident she would win and he was spot-on. She travelled away fine and probably got to the front a bit sooner than ideal, but my rhythm was taking me there so I had to stay going. S he stuck it out to the line.” Richard Ford’s decision to send Seamster across from his Lancashire yard paid dividends when the seven-year-old made just about all the running to take the Tote Mobile Betting Handicap. A winner four times on the Lingfield all-weather track this year, the 3-1 favourite was bounced out quickly by Colin Keane and after finding a decisive burst from the two-furlong pole to put the race to bed, he had little trouble holding Doonard Prince by a length and three-quarters. Ford said: “We’ve had this in mind for a little while. It’s a bit strange as your turf mark here is what you run off on the beach. He’s 15lb lower on turf than the all-weather in Britain, but he got a compromise mark here of 10lb lower. “I was a bit worried that he was not allowed to wear blinkers as he’s worn them about 26 times, but I was hoping the weight advantage would compensate for not having the blinkers. Ford’s other runner My Son Max wasn’t involved at the business end in the Barry Matthews Appreciation Society (QR) Handicap, in which Pat Shanahan’s always prominent Prince Jock (12-1), the mount of Roger Quinlan, held off Korbous by a neck. Pat Martin’s 10-3 shot Our Max demolished the opposition in the Gilna’s Cottage Inn Maiden, challenging down the outside and quickening away from the favourite Al Fahidi in the final furlong to win by three and a half lengths under Shane Foley. The trainer said: “I was a bit concerned it might be too quick for him. He’d a lovely first run for me at Leopardstown but was then a bit slow at the stalls a few times. This place has been good to me over the years, although that’s my first winner here since 2009.” Press Association It got even better when the trainer doubled up in the Hibernia Steel (QR) Race finale, Declan Lavery just getting Togoville (7-1) home in front by half a length in an exciting finish with Smoker. Chris Geoghegan snapped up an opportunity on Mr Bounty (6-1) in the O’Neills Sports Handicap, challenging for the lead a quarter of a mile out on the Michael O’Callaghan-trained four-year-old and forging clear to score by a length and three-quarters. O’Callaghan said: “That’s a nice birthday present as I’m 26 today. A lot of mine have been finishing second, so it’s great to get a winner, and that’s my first runner here. He won at Kempton, which is quite a fast track, and coming here I thought it would suit him. He likes a fast surface and the straight six furlongs. He could be back here again next year.” Champion jockey Joseph O’Brien paid a rare visit to Laytown for one ride on the strand and punters who sent off Sister Slew the 9-4 favourite for the Marquees Nationwide Claiming Race were rewarded with victory.
German stayer Walzertakt is unlikely to take up an engagement in the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger on September 13. The six-year-old son of Montjeu emerged as a surprise contender for the Group One at the Curragh after he defeated the well-regarded Bathyrhon by a short head in the Prix Maurice de Nieuil at Longchamp in July. But trainer Jean-Pierre Carvalho would now rather prepare him for the Group Two Prix Kergorlay at Deauville later this month, with the Prix du Cadran on Arc weekend at Longchamp a conditional goal. Press Association He said: “There is a race at Deauville in August and I think that is where we will go with Walzertakt, instead of travelling to Ireland. “I want to end up running him in the Prix du Cadran so I think it will make a little more sense to stay in France. “It is only an idea, but that is what I prefer at the moment.”