400 Koalas in Australia Will Be Part of Game-Changing Chlamydia Vaccine Trial

Chlamydia is a severe problem among koalas, researchers say. It affects about half the population in Australia. 

Koalas are getting vaccinated, but not against COVID-19

About 400 koalas will be part of a trial for a chlamydia vaccine. It's a severe problem among koalas, researchers say, affecting about half the population in Australia. 

"So is it a game-changer," Peter Timms from the University of the Sunshine Coast said. "I think it'll make a significant difference, given that we haven't had this management tool before."

A 2016 study found that there are about 330,000 koalas left in the wild. It's estimated that in the past three years, 60,000 have been killed or injured by wildfires.

But researchers say there isn't much being done to prevent disease among the koalas. They say antibiotics haven't been an effective solution because the koalas have to be kept out of the wild while they are treated. Also, the medication destroys the bacteria in their gut needed to digest eucalyptus leaves. 

The koalas in this study will get their vaccines and a microchip before being sent back into the wild, hopefully putting an end to this pandemic. 

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