AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation has announced a $2.5 million investment in flystrike vaccine investigation.
The $2.5 million four-year research investment is a collaboration between AWI, the University of Melbourne and CSIRO to undertake preliminary research into the development of a flystrike vaccine targeting the Australian sheep blowfly.
AWI Research general manager Dr Jane Littlejohn said the Flystrike Vaccine project was expected to deliver an advanced flystrike prevention tool.
She said it would provide whole animal protection, reduce the use and reliance on chemical insecticides, and potentially offering a replacement to the current practices of breech modification.
“Using the research findings in related AWI-funded projects, including the published sheep blowfly genome sequence, and cutting-edge genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, the study will have a number of research components,” Dr Littlejohn said.
“The investigation includes a detailed blowfly population study, led by the University of Melbourne, during the next three flystrike seasons across all Australian states. This research will identify any differences in the genetics of blowflies from different regions of Australia.”
University of Melbourne researcher Dr Trent Perry said the population sampling data was essential for any effective control strategies.
“By understanding the populations of blowflies across Australia, we can identify the levels of migrations between populations. This will help us understand any genetic differences between flies from areas where strikes on sheep are high and where sheep are not the predominant hosts,” Dr Perry said.
“This information will contribute to our identification of potential candidate antigens, the development of chemical treatment protocols and monitoring of insecticide resistance.”
If successful, this project will culminate in a flystrike vaccine that will protect sheep right across Australia.