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Scientists Strive to Con Protective Shell off Parasites

18 September 2015

NEW ZEALAND – A new foray into parasite control will see New Zealand researchers try to stimulate larvae into shedding their protective skin to then die before becoming ingested.

If successful, the new process called “exsheathing” could give graziers a tool to combat internal parasites, which cost ruminant farmers NZ$700 million annually.

Never before has the approach been tried, unlike the extensive work on targeting control through the animal, which has issues such as withdrawal period and drug resistance.

This is according to experts at AgResearch, which noted an annual spend of $150 million on sheep and cattle farms on anthelmintics each year.

Study leader, Dr Dave Leathwick (pictured), said: “The aim of the study is to find triggers that will stimulate larvae to exsheath outside the host.

“While a novel concept the team realises this will not be an easy task. The exciting thing about this project is the team of great people we have brought together.

“We have put together a team which brings together capability in Chemistry, Microbiology, Soil biology as well as Parasitology. I think if anyone is going to work this out it will be a team like this.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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