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Koala research project

Help protect endangered koalas 

The future for our iconic koalas looks bleak. Koalas are now endangered in eastern Australia and estimates are that fewer than 100,000 are left in the wild.

Koala populations have been devastated by habitat loss to development, road accidents and domestic animal attacks. Recent bushfire events are conservatively estimated to have claimed more than one billion animals.

Another significant threat is the impact of chlamydial infection. Infection rates are as high as sixty percent in koala populations in Queensland and New South Wales.

Without intervention, chlamydia, could be the final deciding factor in the koala’s survival.

A vaccine breakthrough

Leading Microbiologist, Professor Peter Timms, has spent decades searching for a way to address disease in koalas.

The team has had a breakthrough — developing, trialling and administering a successful koala chlamydia vaccine.

  • Eight trials have been completed and more than 250 koalas vaccinated.
  • The vaccine has been shown to be completely safe.
  • Koalas show a good immune response.
  • Chlamydia infection levels decreased and protection against clinical disease improved.
  • More than 20 scientific publications have been peer-reviewed and research outcomes validated.
  • The vaccine has rolled out to four wildlife hospitals in South East Queensland.

We must act now, to protect endangered koalas.

There's no
time to lose

The vaccine is a potential lifeline for koalas. Now, the team is urgently seeking regulatory approval to administer the vaccine to the most at-risk koala populations.

Step 1. Phase 2 and 3 vaccine trials
The team will now conduct trials in wildlife hospitals and in wild koala populations. Estimated cost: $500,000.

Step 2. Regulatory approval of the vaccine
The approval stage will include vaccine production. Estimated cost: $300,000

Step 3. Production and distribution of the vaccine
Estimated cost: $500,000

Koala at Qld Zoo

Take action to stop chlamydia accelerating the demise and ultimate extinction of koalas.




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Leading the way

Professor Peter Timms is an internationally renowned microbiologist and leading expert on chlamydial infection and vaccine development. He leads a research group, with Dr Samuel Phillips, molecular biologist, to develop vaccines and new diagnostics for chlamydial disease in humans and animals.

They work in collaboration with koala field research teams and wildlife hospitals and improve understanding of chlamydial genomics, cell biology and pathogenicity.

Thanks to all supporters, including federal, state and local government schemes, koala sanctuaries, zoos, international animal foundations, and individual donors, who have brought the vaccine this far.

Now, let's work together to raise the additional $1.5million we need to ensure this project meets its ultimate goal.

Latest news

Funding to roll out vaccine to fight deadly koala chlamydia

University of Sunshine Coast researchers are taking the fight to save Australia’s koalas from the devastating effects of chlamydia to a vital next stage, with funding to turn a research version of its koala chlamydia vaccine into a veterinary-approved product to protect the nation’s most at-risk populations.

Scientists deliver UniSC vaccine to wild koalas

In a major milestone for a decade-long project, UniSC scientists have vaccinated a wild koala in New South Wales with the chlamydial vaccine.

Top honour for USC professor on great quest to save koalas

UniSC professor who is leading vaccine development to safeguard Australia’s iconic koala from extinction has been named a Queensland Great.

More information

Ben Nicoll
Manager, UniSC Advancement Office
Email: bnicoll@usc.edu.au
Tel: +61 7 5430 1137