Our Centre would like to make a statement regarding a recent ABC article published on July 1st 2020, titled ‘Nervous rabbit owners beg for effective calicivirus vaccine in Australia’.
In 2015, an exotic strain of RHDV of unknown origin, known as RHDV2 was discovered in the Australian landscape. Researchers from across Australia have been monitoring this virus intensively over the past few years and have found that it has suppressed feral rabbit abundances by an average of 60%, with impacts most pronounced in southern and western Australia.
Pet rabbit owners can protect their rabbits from RHDV1 strains by giving them the Cylap vaccine which can offer protection, but we recommend always consulting your veterinarian about this. The AVA has information about domestic rabbit protection here.
Unfortunately there is not an effective vaccine available in Australia that offers protection against RHDV2. Our research collaboration is developing a prototype monovalent vaccine for RHDV2 and this is progressing well. We will continue to update this development through our digital channels.
Feral rabbits in Australia need to managed and are the biggest vertebrate pest threat to Australia’s environmental biodiversity – with over 300 nationally threatened species impacted – and agricultural productivity.
For more information about the latest research findings on RHDV2, visit the link below – https://invasives.com.au/news-events/latest-research-findings-rabbit-virus-rhdv2