Australian scientists say they are closer to developing a vaccine that can significantly increase the ability of cattle to resist tick infestations.
Tick vaccine antigens identified by the researchers produce an immune response in cattle that interferes with the tick attachment and feeding process, which reduces tick numbers by up to 60pc.
The same vaccine interferes with the ability of surviving ticks to lay eggs.
The research is being led by the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), the University of Queensland and the CRC for Beef Genetic Technologies.
The research recently recorded 50 to 87pc protection from ticks in trials using pre-optimised immunisation conditions.
QAAFI scientists Dr Ala Lew-Tabor the research was focused on finding alternatives to traditional means of controlling ticks which were slowly declining due to the development of resistance in tick populations to all available classes of acaricides.
Tick management and losses due to the parasite costs the national cattle and dairy industries approximately $175 million per annum.
Dr Lew-Tabor said that while the project team had made excellent progress through the discovery and testing of these potential tick vaccine candidates, a commercial product is still a few years away.
”Once potential vaccine candidates are licensed to a pharmaceutical company to develop into a commercial vaccine, it takes approximately five to eight years to complete registration requirements for use in Australia and overseas,” she said.
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