Investigating new treatments to protect koalas from severe disease
- Post by: CIPPS
- 18 September 2023
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Australian koalas have recently been declared an endangered species following decimation of the population due to a long period of habitat destruction from devastating bushfires, land clearing, and drought.
Koalas are also facing a chlamydia epidemic, which is causing serious disease and death and is proving difficult to treat.
CI Belov and her team discovered a peptide produced in the pouch of koalas, which can kill the bacteria causing chlamydia. This type of peptide was found to be present within the milk of three marsupial species, suggesting it may be conserved across marsupial lineages and may play a role in young protection and development.
Further studies will determine whether this peptide can be repurposed or further engineered to treat chlamydia in koalas.
CI Belov’s discovery is paving the way for the development of new targeted antibiotics to treat chlamydia and save our koalas, demonstrating the impact that can arise from Flagship 1.