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Migrant Crisis: 385 people including an infant rescued by Italian Navy

In 2016, about 189,000 people have arrived in Europe by sea, including around 156,000 in Greece and 32,000 in Italy as the continent's worst refugee and migrant crisis since World War II continues.

Italian Navy Vessel. Image source: IANS

Rome- An Italian navy vessel on Monday rescued 385 migrants from the Mediterranean on Monday including 42 women and 40 children, among them a newborn baby.

“They are all in good health, some have a few minor medical problems but nothing serious,” the captain of the ‘Bettica’ navy frigate, Francesco Iavazzo, told Adnkronos.

The migrants were rescued in a number of operations with backup from an Irish navy vessel that had rescued more than 300 people in ongoing operations, Iavazzo said.

“The rise in the number of crossings is probably due to the good weather as it’s easier to sail when the sea is calm.”

European migrant crisis 2015. Image source: Wikipedia
European migrant crisis
2015. Image source: Wikipedia

Libyan coastguard intercepted seven boats off Sabratha, west of Tripoli earlier on Monday with a total 850 people on board. The passengers included 79 women of whom eleven were pregnant, the coastguard said.

So far this year, some 189,000 people have arrived in Europe by sea, including around 156,000 in Greece and 32,000 in Italy as the continent’s worst refugee and migrant crisis since World War II continues.

Some 1.1 million people reached Europe in 2015, fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. (IANS)

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Experimental Vaccine for Swine Fever Virus Shows Promise

When they deleted this gene, ASFV-G was completely attenuated

Pigs, Swine Fever, Asia
Almost 5 million pigs in Asia have now died or been culled because of the spread of African swine fever over the past year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Friday, warning Asian nations to keep strict control measures in place. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a vaccine against African swine fever that appears to be far more effective than previously developed vaccines.

Currently, there is no commercially available vaccine against African swine fever, which has been devastating the swine industry in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

African swine fever virus (ASFV) is highly contagious and often lethal to domestic and wild pigs, according to the the study, published in the Journal of Virology.

“This new experimental ASFV vaccine shows promise, and offers complete protection against the current strain currently producing outbreaks throughout Eastern Europe and Asia,” said study researcher Douglas P Gladue from Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture.

The research was motivated by the 2007 outbreak of African swine fever in the Republic of Georgia.

“This was the first outbreak in recent history outside of Africa and Sardinia–where swine fever is endemic–and this particular strain has been highly lethal and highly contagious, spreading quickly to neighboring countries,” Gladue said.

“This is also a new strain of the virus, now known as ASFV-G (the G stands for Georgia),” Gladue added.

chinese pork, african swine fever
Pigs stand in a barn at a pig farm in Jiangjiaqiao village in northern China’s Hebei province on May 8, 2019. Pork lovers worldwide are wincing at prices that have jumped by up to 40 percent as China’s struggle to stamp out African swine fever in its vast pig herds sends shockwaves through global meat markets. RFA

For the findings, researchers set out to develop a vaccine. Part of the process of developing whole virus vaccines involves deleting virulence genes from the virus.

But when the researchers deleted genes similar to those that had been deleted in older ASFV strains to attenuate them, “it became clear that ASFV-G was much more virulent” than the other, historical isolates, because it retained a higher level of virulence, said Gladue.

The researchers then realised they needed a different genetic target in order to attenuate ASFV-G.

They used a predictive methodology called a computational pipeline to predict the roles of proteins on the virus. The computational pipeline predicted that a protein called I177l could interfere with the immune system of the pig.

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When they deleted this gene, ASFV-G was completely attenuated.

In the study, both low and high doses of the vaccine were 100 per cent effective against the virus when the pigs were challenged 28 days post-inoculation, the researchers said. (IANS)