Devil vaccine a step closer

Greg Woods and Bruce Lyons.

Greg Woods and Bruce Lyons.

The results of an international study published recently in Scientific Reports has confirmed the fatal facial tumour disease that has decimated populations of Tasmanian devils in the wild for over 20 years, can be cured using immunotherapy.

Led by the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research, the study involved scientists from the Universities of Sydney, Southampton, Southern Denmark and Cambridge, as well as those from UTAS’s School of Medicine, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, and CSL Ltd.

The aim of the study was to ‘explore immunisation protocols to enhance protective responses against DFTD’, but due to devils’ endangered status, only a limited number of animals are available for research purposes. This five-year trial, that tested four immunisation protocols sequentially, was therefore restricted to nine healthy and genetically different animals, some of which had reached an advanced age. Continue reading Devil vaccine a step closer

USyd, UC Davis strengthen collaborative ties

Cameron Carter and Michael Spence AC signing the agreement.

Cameron Carter and Michael Spence AC signing the agreement.

A new agreement between the University of Sydney and the University of California, Davis will see academics benefit from new access to research collaborations and shared funding.

In February, leaders from both institutions joined a partnership signing event.

Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Cameron Carter of UC Davis and Vice-Chancellor and Principal Michael Spence AC both highlighted the fact that UC Davis has research expertise which greatly complements areas of research strength at Sydney.

“We are very excited about this partnership agreement, particularly for the areas of agriculture and veterinary science,” Spence said. Continue reading USyd, UC Davis strengthen collaborative ties

Australian Turf Club inquiry launched

Stewards from Racing NSW have opened an inquiry in to alleged animal cruelty by the Mounted Division of the Australian Turf Club (ATC).

Allegations of mistreatment, illegal sedation and cruelty to horses surfaced in a Sydney Morning Herald report last month.

Racing NSW began to act following a mid-January incident at the Falls Music & Arts Festival near Byron Bay, where a horse and its female rider were injured.

Six horses at the centre of the allegations have been transported from their Centennial Park stable to a spelling farm while the investigation is in progress.

Horses in the ATC’s Mounted Division are retrained from racehorses retrained for everyday life. Continue reading Australian Turf Club inquiry launched

More money to stay on with the APVMA?

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority from Canberra to his own electorate has spurred bosses to consider pay rises of up to 15 per cent to convince staff to remain with the APVMA, Fairfax has revealed.

The pay rises are in addition to a 1.5 per cent retention bonus . . . → Read More: More money to stay on with the APVMA?

Recognition for carp virus researcher

KenMcColl_CSIROIn recognition for his carp biocontrol research that resulted in the establishment of a National Carp Control Plan, the 2016 Professor Dave Choquenot Science Award for Excellence in Pest Animal Research has been awarded to Ken McColl, a Senior Research Veterinarian at CSIRO’s Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong.

Initially introduced into Australia in 1859, carp have been a serious invasive pest in the Murray-Darling Basin since the 1960s, following the accidental release of a strain adapted for fish farming. Because of their ability to rapidly multiply carp are known as ‘river rabbits’, and researchers consider the fish have contributed significantly to the ecological damage and degradation of Australia’s rivers.

Andreas Glanznig, CEO of Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre said Dr McColl’s rigorous scientific observations over the past eight years had confirmed the Cyprinid herpesvirus-3 was an effective carp management option that had shown no adverse effects on other non-target species.

“We’re confident the carp herpesvirus only kills carp and doesn’t infect, and therefore cannot affect, a wide range of non-target animals in Australia. Dr McColl’s findings have resulted in the publication of eight peer-reviewed scientific articles and one book chapter, making him one of the global leaders and experts on this research topic,” he said. Continue reading Recognition for carp virus researcher