Update by Dr Colin Walker: On Tuesday the 29th of May the 60 pigeons in the PMV vaccine testing program were caught by myself and again taken to the Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic. All birds were weighed, examined and had blood collected. All birds were found to be in good health and in fact they had averaged a 5% weight gain.
No birds showed a reaction at the inoculation site. In the early afternoon Dr Tim Wilson collected the blood samples and took them to the lab. The same tests were run as in the previous testing 4 weeks ago i.e. NDV on PRBC, NDV on CRBC and ELISA.
The results were available Saturday afternoon the 2nd of June. 100% of the vaccinated birds in both the NDV4/LaSota group and the LaSota/LaSota group had developed a protective immunity.
However the level of immunity in the LaSota/LaSota group was higher. Many of the birds had formed an antibody level over twice that required to protect them from disease.
This is absolutely fantastic news for the, in particular, Victorian pigeon community and more generally for Australian pigeon fanciers. This means that vaccinated birds can be raced i.e. safely mix with large numbers of other birds from other lofts and possibly feral pigeons on the journey home without risk of catching the disease. This year Victoria will have a racing season.
During the vaccine trial samples of each birds blood at each test have been kept. These 180 samples will now be forwarded to AAHL (the Australian Animal Health Laboratories) at Geelong where the pigeon PMV virus is being held. The blood will be tested using PPMV as an antigen and the resultant HI (i.e. antibody)levels measured.
Because of the considerable antigenic overlap between NDV and PPMV it is anticipated that high HI levels will again be recorded. I will forward these results as soon as they are available.