New research into Marek’s Disease Virus (MDV) in chickens has been carried out at the Pirbright Institute, offering new insights into how exactly the virus affects birds’ immune systems.
The exact way the virus causes immunosuppression, allowing disease to take hold, is unknown, but the new research into these mechanisms has led to a greater understanding of MDV and its impact on the poultry immune system, potentially informing new strategies in prevention and control to improve the health and welfare of poultry.
The research focussed on the cells that are changed by MDV, resulting in immunosuppression. Scientists were able to reverse this effect with a drug called meloxicam, which prevented suppression of the immune response. More information about the particular mechanisms by which this happens can be found in the research paper published in Frontiers in Immunology.