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Vaccine to Protect Koalas from Chlamydia Offers Potential for Other Species, Including Humans
Dr. Volker Gerdts - Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization

Farmscape for June 20, 2023

Research that resulted in the development of a vaccine to protect Australia's koala population from Chlamydia has implications for other species, including humans.
A new subunit protein vaccine, developed to provide protection to Australia's koalas from Chlamydia, combines a bacterial protein isolated by Australia's University of the Sunshine Coast with an adjuvant developed by the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization.
VIDO Director and CEO Dr. Volker Gerdts says the vaccine has performed well in small scale trials and the next step is to move to larger trials with a goal of vaccinating the entire koala population.

Quote-Dr. Volker Gerdts-Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization:
Chlamydia can cause infections in a number of species.
Koalas are one of them so the significance is really that we're helping koalas to essentially regrow their population, overcome the challenges with a declining population in fertility and blindness and so that is very important for the koala population.
But Chlamydial infections can be found in a lot of different animal species and also in humans and so, as we have developed this vaccine, we can also learn how to vaccinate other species and potentially even humans against Chlamydial infections.
We learn the mechanisms of immune protection that are involved so it's not only koalas but it's also the broader applications, understanding how we can vaccinate against a disease caused by Chlamydial bacteria.
Sometimes you can learn from a small animal like koalas in a small population.
You can learn a lot from it and apply it to potentially other disease targets or other animal species.
So, the research is not only focussed on koalas but it's really focussed on developing vaccines for Chlamydial infections both in livestock and potentially humans.

Dr. Gerdts, notes koalas are very important in Australia and this disease has caused huge problems in the koala population.
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Bruce Cochrane.

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