Bugs for bunnies

Research on viruses that can infect rabbits

source: Joanna Marchant
New Scientist August 26 2000 p21

Researchers in Australia and Spain have been working on two different viruses which can infect rabbits. The Spanish researchers have developed a genetically modified virus that can immunise rabbits against myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease. Spanish researchers are concerned that their rabbit population is low, which threatens natural predators. The Spanish Federation of Hunters has part-funded the work. The virus can be passed from from the first infected rabbits to other rabbits, but is not passed on a second time. The work has been carried out by the Centre for Investigation into Animal Health, Madrid, and reported in 'Vaccine', vol 19, p174. Meanwhile, Australian researchers have developed a virus that can make rabbits infertile, or kill them - reported in New Scientist, October 7 1995, p8. Australian researchers see rabits as a pest, in contrast to Spanish researchers, who want to increase their rabbit population.