US - A newly patented vaccine by Kansas State University researchers could be good news for meat consumers, as well as for cattle and those who care for them.
The researchers developed a solution that could provide effective, antibiotic-free prevention of Fusobacterium necrophorum infection. The bacterium afflicts sheep and cattle with liver abscesses, calf diphtheria and foot rot or abscesses.
Currently, antibiotics are used to control these infections, but the vaccine takes a different approach to keep animals healthy and consumers happy.
"The Food and Drug Administration has issued guidance to minimize the use of many antibiotics in cattle, especially those similar to ones with human applications, so this vaccine is an alternative," said lead researcher Sanjeev K. Narayanan, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine.
"This way, we don't expose people's food to bacteria that have acquired resistance to many antibiotics, so the vaccine protects both animals and humans."
Their vaccine uses a two-pronged approach. It first immunises the animal against certain toxins produced by Fusobacterium. The second element of the vaccine is when antibodies generated in the animal against a key protein prevent bacterial attachment to the rumen and liver of the animals.
"If you can prevent attachment, you can prevent infection," said T.G. Nagaraja, distinguished professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology and another member of the vaccine patent team. "That's why this patented vaccine uses a two-pronged approach."
The vaccine is currently in testing for cattle, and may eventually be available also for sheep and for people. The researchers plan to continue working on further developing the vaccine and prevent disease in livestock and people.
TheCattleSite News Desk