Research

Veterinary Diagnostics and Pharmaceuticals

Calf aborted due to Neospora caninum
infection

During a long career in the veterinary diagnostic laboratory world and the animal health pharmaceutical industry, Prof Reichel has developed a strong interest in providing practical and cost-effective solutions to the primary industry for the control of infectious diseases.

A most recent project established a commercial molecular veterinary diagnostic laboratory to test for the presence of cattle, persistently infected with Bovine Viral Diarrhoea virus and established cost-effective approaches to testing for this pathogen. The high analytical sensitivity of molecular techniques was used to establish and validate tests that could be applied to pooled samples, providing a quicker and cheaper way for the testing of large numbers of cattle.

Example of positive fluorescent staining
for Neospora caninum

Testing of tank milks also provided a cost-effective means of assessing the status of a whole milking herd of up to 400 head of cattle. By then focussing follow-up testing initially on the bottom 10% of producers, this approach offers an economically viable alternative to whole herd testing. Economic modelling of the cost of Neospora caninum abortions to dairy farmers by means of a simple decision-tree model can be easily adapted to changing livestock and commodity prices. Vaccination invariably emerged as the most economical control option and in close collaboration with Prof John T Ellis (University of Technology, Sydney) successful vaccine trials have been carried out.

Disease eradication efforts have also been an interest in Prof Reichel’s international career, from the successful completion of Brucella ovis eradication efforts, and research into the epidemiology of echinococcosis in the Falkland Islands, as well as research into bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis in East Africa.

Throughout his career as a researcher into animal infectious disease diagnostics, Prof Reichel has published extensively on the validation of these diagnostic assays.

With obvious commercial interests and an MBA from Macquarie University, Prof Reichel was also successful in the commercialisation (with Idexx) of a diagnostic assay for the detection of antibodies to Johne’s disease in ruminants.