Vaccine for koala chlamydia close

July 17, 2008

Professors Peter Timms and Ken Beagley from Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) said the vaccinated koalas, which are at Brisbane's Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, were mounting a good response to the vaccine.

"A good T-cell immune response is essential if the vaccine is to be effective," Professor Timms said.

"This initial trial will measure only the animals' immune response and will not involve any live chlamydial infections.

"If all goes well with this trial our future studies will evaluate the vaccine on sick and injured koalas brought in for care, relocated animals, and koalas in other sanctuaries.

"As many as 25-50 per cent of koalas coming into care in both Queensland and NSW are showing clinical signs of the disease and it seems to be getting worse."

The researchers have been working on developing a vaccine for the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia trachomatis in humans for many years.

"We've been able to develop the vaccine for koalas as a result of our studies on the development of human chlamydial vaccines done in the mouse model. We identified several novel vaccine proteins that we are trialling to protect koalas as well," Professor Beagley said.

He said chlamydia in koalas was a significant cause of infertility, urinary tract infections, and inflammation in the lining of the eye that often led to blindness.

"The number of koalas with chlamydia seems to be increasing and when combined with habitat destruction, chlamydial disease continues to be a major threat to koalas' survival," he said.

Professors Timms and Beagley said that despite the importance of developing a vaccine against chlamydia for koalas the team is struggling to raise enough funds to continue their work.

Source: Queensland University of Technology

Explore further: Vaccine 'success' raises hopes of saving koalas from chlamydia

Related Stories

World-first research will save koalas

April 9, 2013

The "holy grail" for understanding how and why koalas respond to infectious diseases has been uncovered in an Australian-led, world-first genome mapping project.

Fears for koalas as study reveals 'marked decline'

September 22, 2011

Australia's much-loved koala is under increasing threat and should be considered a vulnerable species, an official report found Thursday, with habitat loss seeing their numbers plunge.

Animals linked to human Chlamydia pneumoniae

February 22, 2010

Animals have been found to have infected humans sometime in the past with the common respiratory disease Chlamydia pneumoniae, according to Queensland University of Technology infectious disease expert Professor Peter Timms.

Vaccine trials inject hope into koala's future

July 16, 2007

The first Australian trials of a vaccine developed by Queensland University of Technology that could save Australia's iconic koala from contracting chlamydia are planned to begin later this year.

Recommended for you

New nanomaterial maintains conductivity in 3-D

September 4, 2015

An international team of scientists has developed what may be the first one-step process for making seamless carbon-based nanomaterials that possess superior thermal, electrical and mechanical properties in three dimensions.

Secrets of a heat-loving microbe unlocked

September 4, 2015

Scientists studying how a heat-loving microbe transfers its DNA from one generation to the next say it could further our understanding of an extraordinary superbug.

Plants also suffer from stress

September 4, 2015

High salt in soil dramatically stresses plant biology and reduces the growth and yield of crops. Now researchers have found specific proteins that allow plants to grow better under salt stress, and may help breed future generations ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.