Toxoplasma Research at Moredun
Host Pathogen Interactions
- Characterisation of host-pathogen interactions in pregnant and non-pregnant animals infected with T. gondii
- Maintaining the Moredun Toxoplasma isolates through complete life cycle which allows oocyst production for research purposes. Maintenance of several different tachyzoite isolates.
- Comparative genomic, proteonomic and biological studies between T. gondii and N. caninum.
- Infection models of toxoplasmosis in sheep and mice have been developed to allow testing of candidate vaccines to protect against congenital infection and acute infection.
- Efficacy studies conducted at Moredun led to the licensing of Toxovax, a live vaccine to help prevent Toxoplasma associated abortion in sheep and goats.
- Several diagnostic methods have been developed including: ELISA and IFAT to test for specific antibodies in sheep; Immuno-histochemistry; PCR diagnostics.
- A Toxoplasma prevalence study on 125 farms, from across Scotland with a total of 3369 sheep tested, revealed that all flocks had exposure to Toxoplasma infection.
- Identification of ferrets, polecats, stoats, foxes, badger and mink as reservoir hosts for Toxoplasma infection in Scotland.
Current interests and future aims:
- Prevalence of Toxoplasma infection in food animals.
- Prevalence of Toxoplasma in food products.
- Risks to humans from consumption of contaminated food products.
- Environmental contamination of Toxoplasma oocysts and parasite survival.
- Risk of Toxoplasma infection to sea mammals around the UK coastline arising from high levels of environmental contamination.
- Identification of Toxoplasma genotypes found in UK livestock and wildlife.
- Establish transmission routes of Toxoplasma through different hosts.
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