Weekly News Roundup 5/22 to 5/28

Anivive files request to repurpose feline drug for COVID-19 in humans

Anivive Lifesciences has filed a pre-Investigational New Drug (pIND) request with the US Food and Drug Administration to repurpose GC376, a drug developed for cats, for consideration as a candidate for the treatment of COVID-19 in humans. Anivive has been developing GC376 since 2018 to treat feline infectious peritonitis, a disease caused by a coronavirus, but GC376 was recently identified as a promising therapeutic candidate for humans. “Published data shows that GC376 demonstrates in vitro and in vivo activity against many animal and human coronaviruses, including SARS, MERS, and, most recently, SARS-CoV-2,” explains Anivive Chief Medical Officer David Bruyette, DVM, DACVIM. . . . more

New study may help dog owners predict seizures

A new study carried out at the Royal Veterinary College has revealed various changes in the behavior of dogs before a seizure, which may give owners advance warning and help them avoid triggers. Researchers found that 65% of owners reported preseizure changes in their dog, most commonly clinginess, excessive energy, and unsettled sleep. These signs varied between dogs, with other common changes including clumsiness, excessive panting, becoming withdrawn or quiet, and lacking energy. Some 43% of owners also reported seizure triggers, which commonly involved stress, food, and excitement. A wide range of other triggers were reported by owners, including loud noises, fireworks, storms, household products (cleaning products and air freshener), and preventive healthcare, including flea and worming products and vaccinations. . . . more

Harvard animal studies suggest COVID-19 protection can come from previous infection or DNA vaccine

In all the excitement over the potential for a quick vaccine to prevent COVID-19, one burning question has emerged: Are the antibodies that form in response to the virus adequate for fending off future infections? Scientists led by Harvard University have published two studies that they believe begin to answer that question. In one study, nine macaques who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and then recovered were protected against the disease when they were exposed to it again 35 days later. The team showed the animals had developed neutralizing antibodies, which prevent the virus from infecting healthy cells. In separate research, 35 macaques received DNA vaccines developed at Harvard and showed similar immune responses to the animals involved in the first study. . . . more

The house mouse first invaded Europe 6,500 years ago

New research suggests the rodents arrived on the continent some 2,500 years earlier than previously thought. The game of cat and mouse as we know it is a drama that unfolds inside of our kitchens, pantries, and living rooms every day, but the new research suggests the drama may have been playing out in Europe for millennia. Archaeologists sifting through the ashen remnants of a burned-down, 6,500-year-old Neolithic village in Serbia have found the earliest known evidence of the perennial rodent pest. Researchers discovered new evidence of the mice’s European invasion as they attempted to trace the furry opportunist’s human-facilitated expansion back to its prehistoric origins. . . more

Armed police called after “big cat” spotted on the loose in exclusive north London enclave

Armed police were scrambled to a “billionaire’s row” on the edge of London’s Hampstead Heath last night after residents of the exclusive enclave reported a “big cat” on the loose. One resident described how she and her daughter fled their garden and called police when the cat appeared from the bushes: “I was sitting having dinner with my daughter in the garden when the head appeared. It looked normal so I didn’t take much notice but then the body came out. We called the police and armed officers started the hunt for the animal. They told us to stay inside. There were two police helicopters overhead. It was very dramatic, I can understand it. At that stage they had to think it was a dangerous wildcat.” . . . more

NEWStat News Interesting/unusual