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Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

The NSW Government has taken a step forward in its mission to develop world first mRNA vaccines against exotic livestock diseases, with sheep being given a trial mRNA vaccine for Border Disease at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute this week. 

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said it was great to see progress being made after he set the ambitious deadline of August 2023 for mRNA vaccines for Foot and Mouth (FMD) and Lumpy Skin Disease. 

“We make no apologies for being aggressive with our deadlines for these vaccines because we know how devastating an incursion of FMD or Lumpy Skin would be for our livestock industry,” Mr Toole said.

“While our first and most important mission is to keep these diseases out, in the event the worst happens we want to be able to arm producers with an mRNA vaccine that could mean returning to freedom status and restoring market access much sooner.

“Once we test the efficacy of this trial shot for Border Disease, we will be able to quickly adapt the production of the mRNA vaccine to target FMD and Lumpy Skin, which is incredibly valuable in our preparedness against a potential incursion.”

The NSW Government recently partnered with US biotech company, Tiba Biotech, to develop the vaccine.

Tiba Co-Founder Peter McGrath said the company was pleased to be working in partnership with government, industry and researchers to protect Australia’s $28.7 billion livestock industry.

“Tiba is proud to provide NSW with access to some of the most advanced vaccine expertise and technology globally to ensure their livestock industry, which is so valuable to the state’s economy, is protected in the occurrence of a biosecurity incursion.”

Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the virus that causes Border Disease, Pestivirus, has been selected as the target for the trial due to its relevance to FMD and Lumpy Skin.

“NSW is leading the way in Australia’s fight against Foot and Mouth and Lumpy Skin Disease, and this milestone is just another important initiative that bolsters our already strong defence against a potential incursion,” Mr Saunders said.

“We have invested $229 million in biosecurity measures this financial year alone – which is the largest investment of a single jurisdiction in Australia.”

Top image: Deputy Premier Paul Toole with Peter McGrath of Tiba Biotech


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