[SECAL-L ] Fwd: EARA News Digest 2020 Week 31 – Horseshoe crabs & Covid-19; Insights in spine evolution, Heart regeneration & zebrafish

Vocalía de comunicación SECAL
Mon, 27 Jul 2020 10:53:23 +0200
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Bueno días,
Os enviamos las noticias semanales de EARA.
Feliz semana

Carlos Carnero / Garikoitz Azkona
Vocalia de Comunicacion Secal
comunicacion@secal.es

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Begin forwarded message:

> From: European Animal Research Association
> Date: 27 July 2020 at 08:59:46 CEST
> To: comunicacion@secal.es
> Subject: EARA News Digest 2020 Week 31 – Horseshoe crabs & Covid-19; Insights in spine evolution, Heart regeneration & zebrafish
> Reply-To: European Animal Research Association
>
> 
>
> EARA News Digest 2020 – Week 31
> Welcome to your Monday morning update, from EARA, on the latest developments in biomedical science, policy and openness in animal research in Europe and around the world.
> See EARA’s Coronavirus updates
>
>
> Non-animal alternative divide could affect Covid-19 vaccine rollout
> A significant disagreement, on the use of an animal model in vaccine safety testing, has developed between the US and Europe.
>
> For many years, a unique natural property in horseshoe crab blood, has been essential for testing the safety of new vaccines, injectable drugs and even artificial hips, as it contains a protein that forms visible clots which identify harmful bacteria.
>
> Blood is “milked” in a lab from the crab – which despite its name is not actually a crab – which is then returned to the sea, although according to Scientific American, it’s thought that the mortality rate is as high as 30%.
>
> In Europe, a new synthetic alternative to horseshoe crab blood (rFC) was recognised as being safe in 2016, but in the USA, it is yet to gain approval from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Then last month, the United States Pharmacopeia announced that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the synthetic alternative was good enough.
>
> However, the European advice has recently had further backing from the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare and its director, Susanne Keitel, said: “When used under appropriate conditions, rFC-based methods provide the same guarantee of a product’s compliance with the test for bacterial endotoxins – and therefore, of its safety for use in patients.”
>
> Now with the demand from US companies for sterility testing for Covid-19 vaccines likely to increase there are concerns for it’s an effect on the crab populations and also that European vaccines tested using rFC will not be automatically approved for sale in the US.
>
>
> Spine evolution revealed by zebrafish
> Research from Duke University, USA, has revealed zebrafish as a useful model to study human spinal defects, such as scoliosis.
>
> By studying zebrafish which have a mutation that leads to developmental issues in their spine, scientists saw that embryos of the mutant fish have a tiny change in their DNA.
>
> This single-letter change in the DNA altered the way the zebrafish builds bones and other structures that make up their spine.
>
> The team also realised that these animals look like the fossilised specimens of ancient fish.
>
> “This work not only gave us a glimpse into spine evolution, but also made us understand how the spine is put together in mammals,” said Michel Bagnat, of Duke School of Medicine.
>
>
> Understanding heart regeneration
> Israeli scientists have gone a step further in understanding how zebrafish can heal their own hearts.
>
> The team at the Weizmann Institute of Science, found that without a network of lymphatic vessels – thin-walled vessels structured like blood vessels – the hearts of zebrafish failed to heal.
>
> “By clarifying this role further, we may learn what the fish heart ‘knows’ about regeneration that the mammalian one doesn’t, and use this knowledge to heal human hearts,” said team member Karina Yaniv (pictured).
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