Report On Paragone Short Stay Training Visit: From Ghent To Edinburgh

Wouter testing a Belgian Blue calf for mite infestation

Wouter testing a Belgian Blue calf for mite infestation


This summer, I got the chance to visit the Moredun Research Institute for one week to receive some training as part of the PARAGONE project. The objective of the visit was to discuss integrated control of Psoroptes ovis in ruminants, with an emphasis on vaccination and acaricide resistance.

In Belgium, we have problems with failing treatments against P. ovis in cattle. Currently, we are developing an in vitro assay to assess resistance against macrocyclic lactones. Because we had difficulties finding a susceptible P. ovis isolate in Belgium, we aimed to use a drug-susceptible sheep strain kept at Moredun as a negative control for our assay. Collecting mites and RNA from this drug-susceptible strain was one of the objectives of my visit. Because of increasing treatment failure in P. ovis in cattle, possibly due to resistance, there is an urgent need for alternative control measures, such as vaccination.

View of Ghent city centry

View of Ghent city centry

Last winter, a vaccination trial against P. ovis in cattle was performed at Ghent University, using a vaccine developed by Moredun.  During my visit, Moredun’s Dr. Stewart Burgess, introduced me to the wonderful world of vaccine development and the possibilities for vaccination against P. ovis in ruminants. I also developed my molecualr biology skills in RNA extraction in his laboratory and learnt the procedures required to maintain a P. ovis colony in sheep.  I am very grateful for the hospitality shown in Edinburgh and the time and effort that Dr. Burgess invested in me.