Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Rheumatic Fever Investment Welcomed By Maurice Wilkins Centr

Media release

Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery
A Centre of Research Excellence hosted by
The University of Auckland

19 February 2013

Rheumatic Fever Investment Welcomed By Maurice Wilkins Centre

The announcement of funding for a trans-Tasman project to investigate potential vaccines for rheumatic fever has been welcomed by the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, New Zealand’s Centre of Research Excellence tackling major human diseases.

The Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia have committed NZ$3 million over two years for a project to identify vaccines that could be taken into clinical development.

The announcement aligns well with a workshop the Centre will hold next month, which is attracting world experts to discuss solutions and strategies for group A streptococcal infection, the bacterial disease that causes rheumatic fever.

Rheumatic fever, which can lead to life-threatening rheumatic heart disease, is one of the Maurice Wilkins Centre’s strategic priorities. The disease, which is now rare in most wealthy countries, remains a major health concern in New Zealand and Australia, with Māori, Pasifika and Aboriginal communities having amongst the highest rates of rheumatic heart disease in the world.

At a national symposium on superbug threats in New Zealand convened by the Maurice Wilkins Centre in 2010, infectious disease consultants identified rheumatic fever as one of their greatest concerns. The Centre has strong capabilities in the biology of group A streptococcus, including deputy director Professor John Fraser’s world-leading expertise, and as a result of the symposium rheumatic fever became a priority for the Centre.

“This is an excellent example of a national need being matched with national scientific strengths,” says Director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre Professor Rod Dunbar.

As part of its subsequent work on rheumatic fever, the Centre is convening a high-level workshop, to be held in March, that is attracting the world’s foremost experts on group A streptococcal biology and disease. A particular focus for the event will be discussion of how to develop an effective vaccine strategy for the Australasian region. Since there are many different strains of streptococcus, any effort to develop a vaccine would need to focus on the particular strains found in this part of the world.

“Our workshop aligns well with the recently-announced trans-Tasman strategy to fast-track the development of a vaccine targeting rheumatic fever,” says Professor Dunbar. “We’re delighted that the New Zealand and Australian Prime Ministers have made such a strong commitment to tackling this very serious disease, and look forward to the release of further details about the trans-Tasman initiative.”


The Maurice Wilkins Centre is New Zealand’s Centre of Research Excellence for the discovery of new treatments and diagnostics for human disease. It brings together leading biologists, chemists, and computer scientists to target serious diseases, focusing on infectious disease, cancer and diabetes. It includes researchers with world-class reputations for designing new drugs for these diseases, several of which are in clinical trials.

The Maurice Wilkins Centre is hosted by The University of Auckland and incorporates researchers from six New Zealand Universities, three Crown Research Institutes and a private research institute: The University of Auckland, University of Otago, Victoria University, University of Waikato, University of Canterbury, Massey University, Industrial Research Limited, Plant & Food Research, AgResearch, and the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Health: New Zealand's First ‘No Sugary Drinks’ Logo Unveiled

New Zealand’s first “no sugary drinks logo” has been unveiled at an event in Wellington... It will empower communities around New Zealand to lift their health and wellbeing and send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news