The following article by Bruce Watt was written originally (16 June 2010) for the ‘Western Advocate’ newspaper, Bathurst NSW.
It is reprinted here with permission.
This profile of Joe Boray follows on the heels of Dr Boray’s detailed essay on liver fluke, first published in the WormMail e-newsletter ((20100329), archived here)), and also in Turning the Worm, Issue 26, May 2010.
Below is a picture of Dr Boray and friend (Fasciola hepatica) I retrieved from the archives. This was taken in 1999 at EMAI, when Joe was in his early-seventies. (Photographer unknown).
Dr Joe Boray with ‘friend’. EMAI, 1999.
“PIONEER PARASITOLOGIST CHALKS UP FIFTY YEARS OF LOCAL FLUKE RESEARCH (Profile of Dr Joe Boray)Bruce Watt, Senior District Veterinarian, Tablelands Livestock Health and Pest Authority, Bathurst
A few months ago an impromptu group of farmers gathered at the Hampton Halfway House (between Oberon and Lithgow) to hear Dr Joe Boray talk about liver fluke. A few days previously, Joe had mentioned to me that he was travelling up to Hampton as he has done for the last fifty years to collect liver fluke snails and to study liver fluke.
Liver fluke is an important parasite on the tablelands and I was keen to learn more myself and to share this information with producers in a known fluke area. However, I also wanted farmers to meet Joe because he has made so many important contributions to the study of parasites that he is a legend and an inspiration.
Joe graduated in veterinary science from the University of Budapest in 1950. Soon afterwards, he commenced his research career and completed a PhD on hydatids. However, he also commenced work on the treatment of liver fluke.
You might recall that in 1956 following widespread student protests, the Hungarian people sought some independence from Stalin’s Soviet domination. The standard Soviet reaction to a rebuff was to send in the tanks. Many people died and over 200,000 Hungarians fled. These refugees included some of Hungary’s best and brightest and many have made prominent contributions to Australia.
Was it because of a fluke that Joe chose Australia? Anyway, he arrived in 1957 and commenced a twelve-year stint with the CSIRO. He sought to understand the biology of the fluke and snail. He also sought improved treatments for fascioliasis (fluke infestation).
Joe interrupted his work with CSIRO to accept an invitation from the University of Hanover. Here he studied the survival of fluke larvae under different climatic conditions. From 1969 to 1972, he taught parasitology to medical and veterinary students and studied the chemical treatment of fluke in Switzerland.
In 1972, Joe started ten year’s work with the pharmaceutical company Ciba-Geigy. His team worked on the development of new chemical treatments for parasites. These included treatments for ticks in cattle and parasites in dogs. However, Joe was also responsible for the development of cyromazine (Vetrazin(R)) which remains highly effective against blowflies and triclabendazole (Fasinex(R)) which has become the cornerstone of fluke control.
In 1983, Joe moved to the NSW Department of Agriculture at Glenfield then Camden (EMAI) where he looked at chemical resistance in sheep lice and liver fluke. Joe however also looked at chemical combinations to improve the treatment of fluke. He found that triclabendazole acted in synergy with oxfendazole improving the kill of immature fluke. This combination is now marketed as Flukazole C(R).
In 1999, aged 73, Joe ‘retired’ from NSW Agriculture (or was it DPI) to set up an independent consulting company. I know that Joe was involved in developing a new combination of chemicals to treat fluke to decrease our dependency on triclabendazole. The combination is marketed as Nitromec(R).
At home, Joe has a laboratory in which he continues to breed liver fluke snails, as you do, hence his visit to Hampton to replenish his snail breeding stock. Joe makes these snails available to researchers wishing to study their interaction with fluke larvae
The work of Joe Boray underpins most of what we know about the treatment and control of fascioliasis. For example Joe established that both fluke and snails become dormant in winter so that treatment in April-May with a product such as triclabendazole and oxfendazole (developed by Joe and team) or Nitromec(R) (developed by Joe and team) will kill both adult and immature fluke, suppressing the spring build up in fluke larvae and so reducing the treat of disease and lost production in our tablelands stock.
I still have a few questions about liver fluke. Do we have drench resistance in our fluke population? What fluke control programs should we recommend for properties with low levels of fluke or no apparent loss from fluke. What are fluke infestation costing producers on these properties? Joe Boray has given us a wonderful foundation as we seek to answer these queries.”
Some liver fluke links:
SL | Veterinarian, State Coordinator-Internal Parasites
Industry & Investment NSW – Primary Industries
Building C02 Northern Ring Road | PO Box U86 | University of New England – Armidale NSW 2351
T: 61 2 6738 8519
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