Thursday, October 07, 2010

RESEARCH NEWS: A CWD Vaccine On the Horizon?

Chronic wasting disease has cast a pall over the Wisconsin deer herd and the state's deer hunting tradition since it was discovered in 2001.

One could argue the only good CWD-related news in the last decade is the nightmare scenario has not played out - the disease has not jumped the species barrier to affect humans or livestock.

Wisconsin wildlife managers have taken aggressive measures to initially try to eradicate the disease and more recently to reduce its spread. The disease is now found in a 9,000-square-mile area of south-central Wisconsin.

The primary tools have been deer reduction efforts (hunting or sharpshooting) and transport prohibitions on deer and elk.

Canadian researchers are testing a CWD vaccine they hope will add another tool to the tool box.

A Canadian team has made some promising advances, and a vaccine might be commercially available in 2 years, assuming they can raise the funding needed for development. The logistics of administering the vaccine to wild deer might prove insurmountable. However, it holds a lot of promise for captive and farmed deer.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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