A Vaccine For Ticks

Researchers in Australia have developed the world's first vaccine to protect cattle against the cattle tick (Boophilus microplus). Ticks are responsible for transmitting a variety of diseases, including babesiosis and anaplasmosis, that cause millions of dollars of damage.

CSIRO scientists working with a private biotechnology firm, Biotechnology Australia, first isolated the antibodies produced by cattle that attack the gut of the tick as they feed on the cattle. They then produced the protein from the tick's gut that stimulates the immune reaction in the cattle. Identifying the tick gene that controls the production of this protein, they have cloned it and used it to produce the vaccine.

Researchers are now trying to produce a vaccine to protect African cattle from the various ticks on that continent. The vaccines should allow a significant reduction in the amount of pesticides presently used to control ticks.

New Scientist, 18 August 1988, 119(1626):34