Koalas: Vaccination trial to reduce chlamydia threat begins

koala being vaccinated

Shano the koala receiving a vaccine in opposition to chlamydia

Terry Walsh, College of the Sunshine Coast

A vaccine designed to guard koalas in opposition to chlamydia is being examined in a big scientific trial in Queensland, Australia.

Australia’s koalas are within the grip of a chlamydia epidemic, with as much as 100 per cent of some populations testing optimistic for the sexually transmitted an infection. Its speedy unfold is considered a serious driver of plummeting koala numbers.

Peter Timms on the College of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and his colleagues have spent greater than a decade growing a vaccine to guard koalas in opposition to the illness, which might result in painful urinary tract infections, lack of bladder management, infertility, blindness and dying.

The vaccine exposes koalas to small fragments of the Chlamydia pecorum bacterium that may infect them. This trains the immune system to recognise and assault the pathogen in the event that they turn out to be contaminated.

Eight small research have proven that the vaccine protects koalas from getting sick in the event that they catch chlamydia and also can scale back symptom severity in these which can be already contaminated.

Within the present trial, which is the most important but, the vaccine shall be given as a single injection to 200 koalas on the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital in Beerwah, Queensland. The trial started on 15 October, with a koala referred to as Shano receiving the primary jab (pictured).

To judge the vaccine’s efficacy, Timms and his colleagues will assess how most of the 200 vaccinated koalas are hospitalised with chlamydia signs over the subsequent 12 months in contrast with 200 unvaccinated koalas.

If the vaccine is authorised for widespread use, “it may assist to show round populations of koalas which may disappear”, says Timms. His staff has already discovered that the vaccine, mixed with different veterinary care, was efficient at reversing declining koala numbers in an space of south-east Queensland.

It could be potential to make use of related rules to develop a vaccine for human chlamydia, which is attributable to the associated bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, says Timms. “I believe this trial shall be intently watched by the human chlamydia vaccine world,” he says.

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