Australian researchers have developed a nano vaccine to protect cattle from the Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV). The virus costs the country's cattle industry tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue each year.
The new BVDV vaccine that constitutes a protein from the virus loaded on nanoparticles, has been shown to produce an immune response against the industry's most devastating virus.
A group of Brisbane scientists has shown that the BVDV nanoformulation can be successfully administered to animals without the need of any additional helping agent making a new 'nanovaccine' a real possibility for Australian cattle industries.
Scientists Dr Neena Mitter and Dr Tim Mahony from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) a UQ Institute recently established in partnership with the Queensland Department of Employment Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), partnered with nanotechnology experts Professor Max Lu and Associate Professor Shizang Qiao from the UQ Australian Institute of Bioengineering & Nanotechnology (AIBN) to develop the vaccine.
Dr Neena Mitter said the multidisciplinary team applied the latest in nanotechnology to develop a safe and effective vaccine that has the potential to be administered more readily and cost effectively than traditional vaccines by using nanoparticles as the delivery vehicles.
"The vaccine is exciting as it could feasibly enable better protection against the virus, can be stored at room temperature and has a long shelf life," said Dr Mitter.
According to Dr Mahony, BVDV is of considerable concern with regard to the long-term profitability of cattle industries across Australia. Cattle producers can experience productivity losses of between 25 and 50 per cent following discovery of BVDV in previously uninfected herds.
"In Queensland alone the beef cattle industry is worth approximately $3.5 billion per year and the high-value feedlot sector experiences losses of over $60 million annually due to BVDV-associated illness," he said.
Further trials of the nanovaccine will now be conducted with plans to develop a commercial veterinary product in the near future.