Science group to help Mycoplasma bovis eradication efforts

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 16, 2018

A science advisory group has been formed to strengthen current efforts to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis), and met for the first time on 31July 2018.

Members of the newly formed M. bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group (the advisory group) will provide high-level strategic scientific advice to the Mycoplasma bovis Governance Group. Science continues to be critical to the M. bovis response, and the advisory group will be a valuable resource to enable current science activities to be scaled up and expanded.

“The advisory group will ensure we have ongoing access to some of the best minds and knowledge relating to M. bovis, which will bolster the eradication effort,” says Roger Smith, head of Biosecurity New Zealand and chair of the Mycoplasma bovis Governance Group.

The advisory group involves a range of relevant expertise from New Zealand and internationally who will contribute their expertise on a range of science matters, including:

  • identifying any critical knowledge gaps and ways to address them, including considering emerging technologies and ideas that may help eradicate M. bovis
  • prioritisation of M. bovis research efforts
  • coordination of current and future science initiatives relating to M. bovis
  • learning from other research programmes in New Zealand and internationally
  • providing assurance that M. bovis eradication research efforts remain fit for purpose.

“The members of the advisory group understand this is an unsettling time for many farmers and are moving quickly. They held their second meeting this week to start the development of their detailed work plan to shape the long-term science strategy,” says Dr John Roche, chair of the advisory group, and the Ministry for Primary Industries‘ departmental science adviser.

“The group has already identified some key priorities for immediate work, and will hold a workshop in September to get wider input into developing the broader science plan,” says Roche.

Smith says scientific research is a vital part of efforts to eradicate M. bovis.

Advisory group members

John Roche – departmental science adviser, MPI (chair).

Glenn Browning – professor, director, Asia-Pacific Centre for Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Hamish Gow – professor of agribusiness, Massey University.

Nigel French – distinguished professor, executive director of the Infectious Disease Research Centre, Massey University.

Axel Heiser – senior scientist, immunology, AgResearch.

William McMillan – independent agri-business consultant and scientist; Kaiarahi Ahuwhenua, Federation of Maori Authorities.

Trish McIntosh – director, North Canterbury Vets.

Roger Ayling – private consultant with extensive M. bovis research experience, United Kingdom.

Cameron Stewart – research scientist, Disease Prevention and Detection, CSIRO.

James Turner – resource economist and senior social scientist, AgResearch.

Shaun Hendy – director, Te Punaha Matatini, University of Auckland, complex systems, networks, and mathematical modelling.

Prue Williams – general manager Science System Investment and Performance, MBIE.

Veronica Herrera – director, Diagnostics and Surveillance Services, MPI.