Work continues to progress on an mRNA vaccine for the foot and mouth and lumpy skin diseases with one expected to be operational by the end of 2024.
With foot and mouth being found on our doorstep in Bali in 2022, former deputy premier Paul Toole called for a vaccine to be ready by August this year.
This was always seen as a very aggressive target and one which ultimately was unachievable.
Progress is being made on a working vaccine with research by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) bringing together a group of international scientists in a partnership with UNSW RNA Institute, the United States' Tiba Biotech in Boston, and international laboratories.
To create an effective vaccine, the research program has had a number of hurdles to get over including demonstrating its effectiveness and demonstrating its safe use in food-producing animals.
The mRNA vaccine project has already achieved significant success in developing a vaccine for Border disease in sheep and this success will help continue the development of vaccines for FMD and lumpy skin.
A NSW DPI spokesperson said six mRNA experimental vaccines have been shown to produce antibody levels that neutralise lumpy skin disease in vitro.
"NSW DPI's Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI) will test these in laboratory animals and eventually livestock, in specialised facilities licenced to work with emergency animal diseases," they said.
"DPI aims to know if the LSD vaccine is effective by the end of 2024.
"The program still involves extensive research and safety testing, and at this stage, it is anticipated that the LSD and FMD vaccines would only be used in the event of an incursion."
The spokesperson said a possible FMD incursion has been on the DPI radar for a while.
"NSW DPI has been actively preparing for an FMD incursion since the outbreak in the UK in 2001," the spokesperson said.
"The preparations are reviewed and refined after every response.
"These include Equine influenza in 2007, Avian influenza in 2012, 2013 and 2020 in Victoria, Salmonella enteritidis, Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis, QX disease, and Japanese encephalitis.
"This is to improve the planning and take advantage of any learnings or new methods that could be used.
"In addition, NSW DPI actively participates at the national level to share learnings and enhance national arrangements through Ausvetplan and the Animal Health Committee.
"Any potential vaccine rollout will be considered as part of these preparedness activities."
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