Category Archives: Hendra virus

Faster Hendra virus test for horses developed by young researcher

ABC News | ABC Rural Jenifer Nichols 1 August 2016

A Queensland researcher has developed a rapid diagnostic test for the deadly Hendra virus that she says can deliver results within 10 minutes, rather than up to 36 hours.  Ms Kristoffersen said the rapid test only required a heat block to work, so it was relatively cheap.  Dr Condon said the new test would need to be as specific and as sensitive as the tests Biosecurity Queensland currently used.

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New Hendra virus tests to slash wait for results

Brisbane Times AAP 31 July 2016

A Queensland researcher who helped develop a rapid diagnostic test for the deadly Hendra virus says it will eliminate the anxious wait for horse owners.  As part of her honours project, University of Sunshine Coast researcher Joanna Kristoffersen developed a process that will slash the waiting time for results from 36 hours to just 10 minutes.

Work is underway to commercialise the product with Biosecurity Queensland and Queensland Health.  The state’s chief scientist, Dr Geoff Garrett, hailed it as “innovative” and said it would streamline diagnosis to better manage and restrict the spread of the disease.

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Equestrian Queensland withdraws calls to deregister Hendra virus vaccine

ABC Rural Robin McConchie 6 July 2016

In a remarkable turnaround Equestrian Queensland has reversed its position on the Hendra virus vaccine.
Addressing the Queensland parliamentary Agriculture and Environment Committee inquiry into the Hendra virus, Chief Executive of Equestrian Queensland Matthew Helmers, said the move to a 12-month booster reduced the risk of over-vaccination and consequently the risk of adverse reaction to the vaccine…

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Hendra virus treatment clears final hurdle for mass human use

Courier-Mail | Rose Brennan 29 June 2016

A ‘PASSIVE immunisation’ for Hendra virus should be available to people within three months in a world-first breakthrough following a successful Queensland Health trial.

Virus antibodies have been successfully trialled on 40 Queenslanders over the past year with no safety concerns identified, leading to a green light for mass usage.

The ‘passive immunisation’ will be given to people after they are exposed to a horse infected with Hendra virus, rather than pre-emptively as with vaccination.

“It is a good breakthrough and a uniquely Australian one. The Hendra virus doesn’t occur outside of Australia,” renowned specialist Dr Geoffrey Playford said.

“If somebody should have exposure to a Hendra affected horse it gives us a lot more confidence in administering the antibody to them in the knowledge that it’s safe.

“Experience shows there certainly will be a need for it.”

The antibody has already been used on 11 people who had been exposed to Hendra virus, with 10 surviving, but the antibody’s safety hadn’t been rigorously tested on healthy volunteers.

“The 11 who received the antibody following exposure to horses … that’s been done without this knowledge of safety … we didn’t know if it was definitively safe,” Dr Playford said.

Throughout the trial the volunteers were administered antibodies of various potencies while others got placebos.

Dr Playford, of the Princess Alexandra Hospital, said no dosage level was found to be unsafe for humans who should be protected by the antibodies for up to 16 weeks following exposure.

In 2010 Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young obtained a licence from the US Department of Defence to produce the experimental antibody for use on humans. All cases of human Hendra virus have occurred in Queensland with seven people falling ill and four of these dying. A Hendra virus vaccine is available for horses.

Flying foxes are hosts of the lethal virus and transmit it to horses through contact with body fluid and excretions.

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Hendra virus vaccine trial reveals no ill-effects

Brisbane Times Darren Cartwright AAP 28 June 2016

A year-long trial of a Hendra vaccine for humans has ended with none of the 40 participants suffering any ill-effects.  Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the clinical trial results would be released later this year.

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$10m boost to biosecurity to come in 2016-17 Queensland budget

ABC Rural Craig Zonca 9 June 2016

The 2016-17 Queensland budget will include a $10.8 million boost to the state’s biosecurity agency.
The additional funds will be spent over the next four years and are in response to a review of Queensland’s biosecurity system that called for an urgent funding injection.
The review found that Biosecurity Queensland lacked the capacity and capability to respond to the ever-increasing number of pest and disease threats.

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Link to Queensland Biosecurity Capability Review:

Black and spectacled flying foxes are main Hendra virus carriers, research shows

ABC Rural Robin McConchie 3 June 2016

The message from the latest Hendra virus research is simple — vaccinate your horses against the virus if you live in a high risk bat prone area.
The statistics are frightening — more than 80 per cent of horses that contract the Hendra virus die, and four out of seven people who have contracted the disease from horses have died.
This week the nation’s leading Hendra scientists, vets and health officers met in Brisbane to bring together all the research into the bat-borne disease.
The Hendra virus was first identified in Brisbane in the mid-1990s, when several horses under the care of horse trainer Vic Rail died.

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