Take Aim® freeze-dried RHD bait

Project Leader: Dr Peter Kirkland, Industry and Investment NSW

Aim: Development of a freeze-dried stock of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) that can be easily and safely transported.

Project:  7.t.2

Project summary

This project is developing a freeze-dried stock of RHDV that can be easily and safely transported without the need for dry ice, significantly reducing costs and bureaucratic impediments to uptake. The product can be prepared for field distribution by mixing with carrots or oats.

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Spreading RHDV by the oral route on treated carrots or grain is a much more practical delivery method compared to catching of wild rabbits and injection of RHDV prior to release. This project aims to overcome the greatest impediment to the widespread distribution of the stock RHDV virus – the need to store and distribute the finished product at low temperature.

Studies at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute within Industry and Investment NSW involve a series of individual stages. These include:

  • identifying the optimal conditions for freeze drying
  • selection of an appropriate cryoprotectant
  • preparation of a pilot batch of freeze dried RHDV product
  • determination of the shelf-life of freeze dried RHDV product
  • assessment of the infectivity of the freeze-dried RHDV product when presented on carrots or oats.

Outcomes of this project include:

  • a freeze-dried stock of RHDV
  • efficacy results from trials using freeze-dried RHDV
  • stability study results for RHDV stored under real-time and accelerated conditions
  • data packages compiled for Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) registration
  • best-management code-of-practice for an integrated rabbit control strategy that incorporates the shelf-stable RHDV product and advocates a nil-tenure approach.
  • promotion of the best-management Code of Practice strategy to stakeholders at a state and national level.

Key achievements

  • Batches of RHDV bulk virus have been produced and several freeze-drying methods (with different protective elements and drying conditions) have been evaluated.
  • A pilot batch of freeze-dried RHDV product has been incubated at different temperatures to assess stability under real-time and accelerated conditions.
  • Stability studies over 1, 3, 6, 9, 12 months have been completed showing that the virus has a shelf life of greater than 12 months when stored between 2-8°C and remains infective when stored at ambient temperatures (up to 27°C) for 1 month

Key deliverables

  • Continue evaluation of the shelf-life of Take Aim® prior to submitting a registration application to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for sale and distribution approval.
  • Provide input to the development of a code of practice for the national rabbit control strategy.

Project partners

IA CRC, NSW Industry and Investment.

Further information

See our commercial products page

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