Biological controls: what’s next? RHDV K5

Australian governments and industry have joined forces in a global search for a new rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) strain to boost rabbit biocontrol effectiveness in Australia. The search and evaluation has led to a naturally occurring RHDV variant from Korea (RHDV K5) being selected.

Many of us may have missed the notification of an application to register RHDV K5, and approval of the new active constituent, Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, 08Q712 strain. This particular product is freeze-dried, which helps to make it easier to handle – there was some question about viability of the last release of RHDV (strain v351) that was used in the last Molonglo Catchment Group's project due to lengthy delays in getting it, and then only releasing it in what was disappointingly small quantities.

The national release will be coordinated by the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee in consultation with Australian Wool Innovation and Meat and Livestock Australia. Currently the Invasive Animals CRC is seeking expressions of interest for monitoring test release sites.

For more information about the RHDV K5, its proposed release, and the monitoring sites, visit www.pestsmart.org.au/boosting-rabbit-biocontrol-rhdv-k5-national-release/