Researching a red mite vaccine
The UK agriculture department (DEFRA) and the Scottish
Agricultural College (SAC) are building on experience gained studying sheep scab
mites, with the aim of applying that knowledge in the development of a vaccine
for red mite in poultry.
Dr John Huntley, of Edinburgh's Moredun Research Institute
, says that major steps have been
taken towards finding a vaccine for the parasite, which causes huge economic
losses for the industry, and currently has very limited chemical treatment
Researchers have discovered that red mites behave very similarly to the way
cattle ticks respond to commercial vaccine - antibodies in the blood of
vaccinated animals will prevent the mite feeding properly by targeting gut
â€œThe work started in October so it is early days yet, but already we have
some fascinating and very encouraging results,â€ Dr Huntley observed.
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