SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

New Zealand, Australia to collaborate on rheumatic fever research

Sir Peter David Gluckman, the chief science adviser to the New Zealand prime minister, recently announced that New Zealand and Australian researchers will team up to develop possible vaccines for rheumatic fever.

Gluckman said that the researchers would work on the three significant strains of rheumatic fever and Group-A Streptococcus, which makes the disease increasingly dangerous. He also said that a public health strategy against the illness would still be needed even if the research is successful, according to

The New Zealand and Australian prime ministers recently said that joint funding for the project would total approximately $3 million. The pair made the announcement at trans-Tasman talks held in Queenstown. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key reportedly initiated the project after asking Sir Peter to investigate whether pursuing the vaccine was worthwhile, according to

Chief science advisors from both countries produced independent reports that were then reviewed by international vaccine experts. The reports must have been concurrent, Gluckman said, because both prime ministers agreed to fund the project. The $3 million is scheduled to go to scientists in both countries over a period of two years.

"This is cutting edge, high-end science," Gluckman said, reports. "It's a long road but it's an important road and it really needs to be focused on this part of the world."