Solving a hidden threat to New Zealand’s meat and dairy industry

Beef and lamb exports, among New Zealand’s major industries, potentially will exceed $3 billion for the first time this year. But a high prevalence of veterinary pathogens causes high rates of animal death, suffering, and decreased production, and diseases like pneumonia in sheep and mastitis in cows lack effective vaccines.

Associate Professors Bridget Stocker and Mattie Timmer, from Victoria University of Wellington, are working with AgResearch to help address this problem, developing vaccines to help prevent ovine pneumonia, with promising early results.

This is the next step in an ongoing project for the university researchers, who have spent the past few years developing a new class of vaccine adjuvant—which is an additive to a vaccine that improves the host’s immune response and increases vaccine efficacy.

During the development of this adjuvant class, the researchers, along with their PhD student, Amy Foster, worked with Professor Sho Yamasaki, from Japan, one of the world’s foremost experts in immunology. Continue reading