IMU 5.13% 18.5¢ imugene limited

*can you imagine the share price?

  1. 322 Posts.
    One of the IMU projects - FLEA CONTROL VACCINE
    $250000 funding grant towards the Flea project

    Can you imagine the share price when this vaccine will hit the market !

    The vaccine concept is unique in the world flea control market
    because it seeks to kill fleas on dogs or cats using biological
    methods instead of chemicals. The aim of the vaccine is to create an
    immune response in the animal's blood, so that when a flea bites and
    feeds on the blood, it will die.
    There are over 2,000 known species of fleas of which a few, most notably the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis felis, are major domestic pests worldwide. Fleas are bloodsucking arthropod parasites which are not species-specific, living off any warm-blooded host including humans. They are not only a nuisance to humans and their pets, but represent a significant public health issue. This is because they can serve as vectors for diseases such as typhus and some common species of tapeworms and, in extreme cases, they can consume enough blood to cause anaemia. More significantly, fleas are the number one cause of skin disease in pets due to the itching and irritation produced by their bite. The culprit, flea saliva, is injected during a blood meal and has been described as the most irritating substance known to humans with many cats and up to 40% of most canine populations being allergic to it. Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is the term used to describe the full clinical syndrome (Figure 1). In dogs, the most common age of onset is 3-6 years and the disease indiscriminately affects both sexes and all breeds. The clinical severity of FAD depends on the degree of immunologic sensitivity, the level of flea exposure and the extent of self-trauma. The difficulties in controlling FAD often impact significantly on the owner in terms of the distress suffered.

    There are now many anti-flea products on the market. Collectively, these products are estimated to be worth several billion dollars in sales worldwide. All essentially rely upon chemical control and many products have active constituents that have real or perceived health problems associated with them.
    At the market’s lower end are the shampoos and powders. These insecticides are cheap, but only effective for a few days so frequent continual use is necessary. These products are also generally primitive; the insecticides kill the adult flea by inhibiting their nervous system. They may be effective for keeping fleas off small dogs, but on a larger dog they are only useful for keeping fleas away from the animal’s neck.

    There are three new products now on the market, which although more expensive, are more effective at controlling fleas in companion animals – these include chemical adulticides, “Advantage” (imidacloprid; Bayer) which is topically applied as a monthly oil where it binds to the fur, and “Frontline Top Spot” (fipronil; Merial) applied cutaneously as a quarterly spray. By contrast, “Program” (lufenuron; Novartis) is given as a monthly oral medication and although also a chemical, it is technically an insect growth regulator. It works by inhibiting chitin synthesis and so breaks the flea lifecycle by preventing eggs and larvae from developing into adults. Insect growth regulators are safer than insecticides but do not kill adult fleas, thus flea control is best achieved with a simultaneous and co-ordinated approach involving an insect growth regulator in conjunction with an adulticide. Flea control for cats needs to be more specific than for dogs. As a result, many insecticidal rinses and sprays are not suitable for cats which groom constantly.

    Given that most pet owners are interested in using environmentally friendly alternatives to insecticides on their pets and that insect growth regulators do not kill adult fleas, there is a clear need for a complementary form of flea control. A potentially lucrative approach would be to develop a flea vaccine, which should be systemic, kill adult fleas, be parasite-specific, long-lasting and residue-free. Such an approach may be particularly timely in view of the spectre of increasing resistance due to the overuse of chemical anti-flea products and would be an attractive, complementary product for companies marketing growth regulators.
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