Lumpy Skin Disease needs Australia’s best scientists: Cattle Council

Beef Central, 01/04/2022

The Cattle Council Policy Council and Board agreed to the position and adoption of the updated AusVet Plan at its quarterly meeting on Thursday.

Cattle Council President Markus Rathsmann said an mRNA vaccine would be a powerful tool in preventing an outbreak in Australia.

“Lumpy Skin Disease has recently taken hold on our doorstep, in Indonesia,” Mr Rathsmann said.

“If the disease makes its way to Australia, it could destroy the viability of a $40 billion red meat industry that exports over 70 per cent of produce to world markets.

“An outbreak in Australia would see dozens of countries close the door to trade with Australia.

“We have a responsibility to throw our best resources at this to protect biosecurity integrity in the red meat industry, the animals we care for and the community.

“CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong is a Level 4 purpose-built world-class facility designed to manage R&D for annual disease and viruses.

“mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus but scientists need samples so we can learn to fight it.

“Some simple vaccines have been developed overseas, but they carry an unacceptable risk of actually spreading the virus and other contaminants.

“If Australia can develop a safer, single-shot mRNA vaccine it will be a game-changer here and overseas.

“Our best chance at preventing a Lumpy Skin Disease outbreak is to help bring it under control in Indonesia, limiting the opportunity for it to spread further and we strongly support Mark Schipp and the Federal Government’s work in this effort.

“Cattle Council is writing to the Federal Government, requesting they approve the controlled importation of live Lumpy Skin Disease samples, so CSIRO can get to this important work.

“CCA acknowledges the assistance of Minister Littleproud’s recent announcement of the $61 million to boost northern biosecurity services. It’s critical we get state governments to also invest in upgrading biosecurity services.”


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  1. Gil Schmidt, 10/04/2022

    Thank you editor, I stand corrected the calicivirus escaped from a Quarantine station established on Wardang Island off the coast of South Australia in March 1995 to test the virus which was due for release in 1998. 6 months later it had escaped,most likely carried by vectors. Extract ciropedia

  2. Gil Schmidt, 05/04/2022

    A wise man penned, Those that don’t learn from history repeat the mistakes of history
    I remember the live calicivirus escaping from Geelong, no inquiry, no demotions or sacking, nothing, because researchers don’t endure the consequences of their incompetence.
    Let them do the research in Indonesia, as livestock owners there would appreciate any help.

    Factual error included in your comment here, Gil. Calici did not escape from the secure Geelong research facility. It was released onto a remote island as part of the routine work to test efficacy on the local rabbit population. The virus ‘escaped’ from the island – NOT the secure Geelong research facility. It is commonly believed that calici was deliberately removed from the island, via a dead animal, by a person or persons who had grown impatient over its release into the wild, because it clearly worked. Editor

  3. Pam McGregor, 04/04/2022

    Years ago, when there was debate about importing live Foot and Mouth samples into Australia for research, I (and many others) argued strongly that if Australians scientists and researchers needed that access for research and development of whatever, then they should go overseas (in this instance to Pirbright in England) and do the research there. Australia ended up NOT importing any live F&M samples; some time later there was a leak from Pirbright and a foot and moth epidemic in UK resulting in thousands of stock, including irreplaceable stud stock, being destroyed. If our scientists need access for this disease, send them overseas. Please don’t allow import of live anything that’s not here, even if it’s not here yet.

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