Threat abatement project
Raidal, S.R., Johnsen Bonne, N. and Stewart, M.
Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, 2005
The main aims of the project that Murdoch University undertook included:
- Develop a Beak and Feather virus using bacteria.
- See if antibodies recognise the engineered virus from naturally infected bird species.
- Determine if the engineered virus will induce an antibody response in sheep?
- And will these antibodies recognise native virus?
- Will psittacine species antibodies respond to the engineered virus?
- Identify and prioritise the gaps in existing knowledge relating to this field of research and provide recommendations as to areas of future research activity that will address those gaps identified.
This research project successfully engineered a Beak and Feather Disease virus that was recognised by anti-BFDV-antibodies raised in chickens and cockatoos. Additionally, two sheep and several psittacine birds were infected with the engineered virus and their antibody response was monitored. It was found that both sheep and birds inoculated with the synthesized virus induced the production of antibodies that recognized native BFDV. These results show that the engineered virus is able to induce an antibody response and those characteristics of the native BFDV have been conserved. The engineered virus has valuable potential future applications in immunisation of parrots, lorikeets and cockatoos. In addition, this experiment has resulted in a large stock of sheep-anti-Beak and Feather Disease Vaccine sera that can be used for diagnostic testing of psittacine birds.