Ceva combats chlamydia in Australian koalas with new program

Ceva Santé Animale is supplying a drug to Australia Zoo and animal health centers to treat and prevent chlamydia in Australian koalas.--Courtesy of Ceva

Ceva Santé Animale is taking an active role in helping wipe out chlamydia in Australian koalas, donating supplies to animal health centers and one of the continent's top zoos to cure animals of the sexually transmitted disease.

Ceva is the only pharma company that makes chloramphenicol, a med that treats chlamydia in animals, but it stopped producing the drug in 2014 due to low demand from vets. Then Ceva heard that chloramphenicol was the only product that could treat chlamydia in koalas, so it reinstated manufacturing to supply the drug to Brisbane's Australia Zoo and other vets, Finole McConaghy, Ceva Australia's technical services manager, said in a promotional video.

About 30% to 50% of Australia's wild koalas were suffering from chlamydia, which leads to infertility, blindness and sometimes death and poses a threat to the entire continent's koala population, the company said in a statement. Ceva making the drug available again and distributing it to major zoos in the region is a "wonderful boon to the health of the koala," Robert Johnson, president of the Australian Veterinary Association, said in a statement. And the immediate benefits for koalas are apparent, he added."It's pretty obvious that the animals are in a better condition than they were a few years ago when we didn't have the drug," Johnson said.

The initiative comes on the heels of another animal health effort by Ceva. Back in October, the company hosted a symposium in Cape Town, South Africa, to raise awareness about using mass vaccinations to protect poultry against bird flu.

Sanofi's ($SNY) Merial animal health division is also hard at work on disease prevention. In October, Merial CEO Carsten Hellmann reiterated the company's commitment to distributing its rabies vaccine, dubbed Raboral, overseas to eradicate the disease. It's important to have "big programs in place" to make sure that rabies doesn't spread when animals cross borders, Hellmann said at the time.

- here's Ceva's statement
- watch the Ceva TV report

Special Report: Top 10 animal health companies of 2013 - Ceva Sante Animale