STD vaccine for raunchy koalas
July 17, 2007 11:15am
“As much as 40-50 per cent of koalas coming into care in both QLD and NSW are showing clinical signs of the disease and it seems to be getting worse,” Professor Peter Timms from the Queensland University of Technology said.
Professor Timms will start trialling a new vaccine against the disease later this year to combat the “major threat” to koala populations.
He said an increasing number of koalas were contracting the disease, which causes urinary tract infections, infertility and eye problems.
“Chlamydia has been a major problem in the koala population for a long time,” he said.
“It’s a pretty serious problem in koalas… it can lead to blindness.”
Professor Timms said that the vaccine will be trialled on a small group of koalas at the end of the year following studies of the disease on humans.
“We’ve been able to develop a vaccine for koalas as a result of our studies on the development of human chlamydial vaccines done in the mouse model.
“We have identified several novel vaccine proteins that we hope will protect koalas as well.”
The first phase of the trial, where koalas will be injected with the vaccine and monitored for 12 months, should be a “significant step in the right direction in fighting the threat of chlamydia in koalas”, Professor Timms said.
He said the impact of the vaccine should be apparent within six months of the injections.