QTHA researcher Professor Peter Timms' research project has received $465,000 in ARC funding.

An anti-Chlamydia vaccine for koalas will be developed by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers with funding announced June 30.

They were among seven QUT projects awarded more than $3 million in funding under the Australian Research Council's Linkage Projects scheme.

Linkage funding of $465,000 has been given to a project to develop and test a multi-strain Chlamydia vaccine on koalas in the wild, with the assistance of several partner organisations, including Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Gold Coast City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council Department of Transport and Main Roads and Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management.

QUT's Professor Peter Timms, who leads the project, said his group's previous vaccine trials had had great success in captive and hospitalised koalas, but a controlled long-term trial on wild populations was needed to confirm the vaccine's ultimate success.

"Many koala populations are under threat of extinction from chlamydial disease, with up to 50 per cent of koalas infected in Queensland," Professor Timms said.

"The vaccine can be tailored to specific koala populations, depending on which Chlamydia strains are present.

"In our previous trials, koala antibody and immune responses to the vaccine are extremely good and give every indication that the vaccine should protect koalas against a natural live challenge, but we still need to monitor the vaccine's success when vaccinated koalas encounter Chlamydia in the wild.

"The results will also feed back into studies on developing vaccines for multiple Chlamydia strains in humans."

 

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