In New Zealand, some farmers could by Rabbit Hemmorhagic Disease (RCD) in a bottle.

NB:There is no such thing as a clean virus, because RHD was never grown in cell culture, and RHD was only tested to see if it didn't contain 12 adventitious viruses (in NZ). Then RHD was declared "pathogen free".


NZ Farmer 5/3/98
Dunedin firm selling RCD at $150 a time

Buying RCD is expensive, says rebel RCD spreader Philip Mackay.

By next week farmers will be able to buy 100ml of rabbit calicivirus disease for $150 from Dunedin medical research company, Zenith Technology.

Zenith had its hearing with the Pesticides Board last week to register RCD as a pesticide. It has been granted a permit for experimental use.

Full registration was declined because there was a lack of information available on bait weathering and efficacy of the product. It does not preclude farmers continuing to make and spread their own RCD homebrew.

Mr Mckay, Streamlands Station, Mackenzie Country, was one of the first in the country to spread the disease. He believes the commercial sale of the virus a good idea, which farmers will use.

He acknowledges the research and paperwork involved for Zenith, but says he can produce it for $5 for the first 100ml, and subsequent amounts would be cheaper, without including his time. The only monetary cost for the Mackays is the saline solution.

"Its up to the individuals. If they want to buy it, that's fine. If they want to just keep it themselves and restart the virus, that's fine too", he says.

"It is quite expensive, but I think it is a good idea they can buy it from somewhere like Zenith.

"I've had heaps of people ringing me lately wanting stuff. I have got enough to get me started again, and I think Zenith will probably do quite well out of it.

"I've probably given away more than 100 litres, which should be enough to set up every farmer when you consider the other people who are also giving it away. There's plenty out there, and if you catch more rabbits and inject those you're away again".

Mt Mackay says he will probably buy some of the commercially produced RCD some time to see if it performs better than his own mixture, but doubts it will.

Zenith Technology's company director, Tak Hung, says his small Dunedin company, which employs 30 people, does not expect to make money from the exercise.

"Our only interest is to produce a clean, effective virus to avoid farmers using their own toxic homebrews, "he says. "They are more than welcome to make their own, but we would prefer them to be responsible and use our virus, which was imported from Australia.

"We have only been able to get it out so quickly because scientists around the country have been working around the clock. Every 100ml can be diluted to one litre, which can be used on 10kg of bait and spread over 243ha.

"Potentially we have to do a lot of research and database collection. We do not know the future, and if we could make some money out of it, it would be wonderful."


Otago Times (NZ) - Online Edition


Permit granted to sell RCD

By Neal Wallace and Tracie Barrett

A clean strain of the rabbit calicivirus disease will be available for sale within the next 10 days, following a decision yesterday to grant an experimental use permit to Dunedin company Zenith Technology.

The Pesticides Board has granted a permit for the limited sale of 500 litres of rabbit calicivirus - estimated to be about three years' supply - to the Dunedin medical research company.

A requirement of any sale is that Zenith and the product user inform the Department of Conservation 10 days prior to release of the product so it can be monitored from a conservation viewpoint.

The board has been considering an application from the company to have RCD registered as a pesticide so it can be sold on the open market. However, it has declined to fully register the virus because not enough is known about weathering and the effect of the product and the company is to gather more information as a condition of the permit.

The company has developed a pure concentrated strain called RCD-ZEN which it will sell in 100ml bottles for $150, along with instructions on how to release it as a biological control.

Zenith director Dr Max Shepherd said yesterday the best time for another strike of RCD was over the March-April period and it was vital to have a clean virus available to farmers.

There would be mandatory label directions on the best known means of using the virus, which was not to be sprayed on herbage or in general broadcast.

"We are looking forward to continuing to work with scientists at the Otago Regional Council, the University of Otago, Landcare, MAF and the Pesticide Board to ensure the clean virus is available and gather further data."

Dr Shepherd expected the product to be available within 10 days.

There were no restrictions on who could buy or use the virus and many people had already expressed interest, he said.

"The farmers that have come to us have indicated quite clearly they do not want to go down the path of using the kitchen whizz. They would much prefer to use a product that has gone through the vigorous appraisal of a registration authority."

Friday, 27-February 1998


From The Southland Times (New Zealand)- March 02, 1998

FARMING RCD pre-orders flood in

by Natasha Holland

CENTRAL Otago farmers are rapidly pre- ordering the new concentrate rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) to attack rabbits again.

The Pesticides Board on Thursday granted an experimental use permit to Zenith Technology for the limited sale of 500 litres of the rabbit-killing virus.

Since the grant was approved, Dunedin- based Zenith Technology has been deluged with calls about the virus.

The company had 40 calls from farmers throughout New Zealand on Friday, including Te Anau, Wanaka, Ranfurly, Balclutha, Gore, Balfour and Lumsden.

Zenith Technology director Dr Max Shepherd said the virus would be available in 10 days.

The concentrate virus comes with strict instructions for farmers to follow.

One requirement is that the Department of Conservation is notified 10 days before the RCD release so it can be monitored.

RCD was illegally introduced into New Zealand last year and the first reported outbreak was found in the Cromwell area on August 26.

Sally and Donald Young, of Lowburn, received international attention after RCD tested positive on their farm.

Since that first outbreak of RCD, the couple noted a dramatic kill rate among adult rabbits.

"I have noticed new growth in some areas of the farm since the outbreak, but we will be ordering the RCD product," Mrs Young said.

Federated Farmers South Island high country committee Otago lakes representative Jack Davis said farmers were thrilled they would be able to buy the virus.

"I think farmers need to be careful of how we use it. We need the disease to really take off, and not for rabbits to become immune," Mr Davis said.


Dominion (New Zealand) 4/3/97

RCD may have killed pets

Rabbit calicivirus disease is believed to have claimed it first pet victims in the Hawke's Bay.

A pet rabbit owned by a Havelock North family died last week, and another died on Sunday.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council believes the rabbits died from the virus, but is awaiting confirmation from the Agriculture Ministry.

Council animal pest manager Owen Harris said the disease was widespread among feral rabbits in Hawke's Bay.

The deaths were a timely reminder to pet owners to have their rabbits vaccinated, he said.


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