Australia Opens Molecular Science Institute in East Timor to Fight Exotic Animal Diseases

Following a seven-year joint project between Australia and the Government of East Timor, a portable molecular lab was opened in East Timor used to detect exotic animal diseases and biosecurity threats.

Established in collaboration with Victoria Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of East Timor, this dedicated lab aims to provide Timor-Leste veterinarians with the resources to sample suspicious animals and provide diagnosis before the disease spreads. increase.

At the opening ceremony in Dili, the capital of East Timor, Australia’s Ambassador to Bill Costello said the Molecular Research Institute would allow two neighboring countries to work closely on biosecurity issues.

“Given the worldwide prevalence of diseases such as African swine fever (ASF), foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), and Lumpy skin disease (LSD), biosecurity concerns are growing,” Costello said in June. I reported on the 17th. Tatri News..

“We are pleased that the Australian Government has been able to assist East Timor in responding to ASF (African Swine Flu) through a program developed by Agriculture Victoria,” said Costello, A $ 1.3 million (897.6 million). A project (US $) has been added. Funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be delivered between 2022 and 2023.

Brendan Rodni, director of agricultural research in Victorian, said the project also provides valuable first-hand experience for Victorian scientists in diagnosing diseases not found in Australia.

“This helps build exotic disease monitoring and diagnostic skills and abilities, so we are better prepared for an outbreak in Australia,” Rodni said. Is stated in. statement..

Grant Laurin, a researcher and professor of Victorian agriculture, added that the Institute for Molecular Science will utilize a test called qPCR. This means a real-time polymerase chain reaction that monitors the target DNA molecule. .. “

East Timor’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pedro dos Reis, thanked the Australian Government for supporting the country at the Institute for Molecular Veterinary Diagnosis (MVDL).

“MVDL is [Agriculture and Fisheries ministry]Especially in improving animal health services in East Timor, “Wraith said.

Australia’s biosecurity concerns

According to Australia Department In agriculture, water and the environment, invasive species have caused enormous damage to Australia’s unique ecosystems.

David Jochinke, Vice President of the National Federation of Farmers, said Australia’s livestock and support department is currently working hard to prevent the infestation of foot-and-mouth disease and / or Lumpy skin disease detected in Indonesian cattle. rice field.

“The government and industry are helping local neighbors in the containment of both illnesses and the protection of our sector in the event of a home soil invasion,” said Jochinke, the new Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Said in a message to Senator Murray Watt. The first roundtable of industry ministers in Canberra on June 21st.

“Biosecurity isn’t a catchy word, but it’s a problem that all Australians have vested interests in. Significant intrusions not only affect agricultural value chains and market access, but also the economy as a whole. I will do it, “Jochinke added.

“We need to do better than tackle the problem at the time of the crisis. We need to provide the necessary investment to complete our national biosecurity strategy and enhance our systems,” Jochinke said. ..

and interview In collaboration with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on June 5, Senator Murray Watt, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said the Commonwealth Labor Party government took biosecurity “seriously.”

“Before taking on the portfolio, biosecurity has always been a very high priority in everything we talked to with members of the sector in agriculture,” said Watt.

But when federal workers were asked if they would provide new funding for biosecurity, Watt said, “I haven’t promised to do that at this stage.”

“”[O]Obviously, that’s what I need to talk to my ministerial colleagues, but it’s very clear to me that this is a major threat to our industry. “

Foot-and-mouth disease

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) Is a highly contagious viral disease in livestock that causes fever followed by vesicles (blisters) mainly in the mouth and legs, affecting hoofed animals such as cattle, buffalo, sheep and goats. Is often.

According to the government, Australia is now free from FMD. statement..

In May 2022, the outbreak of the virus report With Indonesian cow.

In 2001, the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom cost more than £ 8 billion (A $ 19 billion).

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resources and Economic Sciences (ABARES) modeling project is expected to have a direct economic impact of approximately $ 80 billion due to the widespread outbreak of foot and foot disease in Australia.

Henry Jom


Henry Jom is a reporter reporting on local news based in Australia. Contact him at [email protected]

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