Peter Green MRCVS shares news of an encouraging development in the battle against African horse sickness
African horse sickness (AHS) is a serious, often fatal virus disease of horses in the southern hemisphere, which may well spread to Europe as a result of climate change.
The current live vaccine against AHS is not risk-free: it can revert to its dangerous state and it can cause deformities in foals if pregnant mares are vaccinated. In addition, there is currently no way to distinguish between horses infected with the disease and those that have been vaccinated.
However, scientists in South Africa, where AHS is endemic, have been working hard on this problem with the help of tobacco plants and have just reported some encouraging results.
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