Researchers Apply Techniques Used in Human Medicine to Preventing Strep suis in Pigs

Nov 20, 2023

The Canada Research Chair in Immunology of Infectious Diseases with University of Montreal says a new synthetic sugar-based vaccine being developed to guard against Streptococcus suis offers the potential to improve animal welfare, reduce the economic losses associated with the pathogen and reduce the use of antibiotics.

Researchers with the University of Montreal and the University of Alberta, with funding provided by Swine Innovation Porc, have linked a synthetic sugar derived from the coating that protects Streptococcus suis to a protein, enabling the pig's immune system to recognize the pathogen.

Dr. Mariela Segura, the Canada Research Chair in Immunology of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Swine and Poultry Infectious Diseases Center in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Montreal says this is the first time this approach to vaccine development has been used in veterinary medicine.

Quote-Dr. Mariela Segura-University of Montreal:

What we used is something  that has been used only once in human medicine but it's a concept that was there.So, we translated a tool developed for human medicine to be applied for the first time in veterinary medicine and in swine production.So, it will be applied as a vaccine formulation to protect piglets from Streptococcus suis disease and whom will be the veterinarians that will be providing the vaccine program to swine producers.There are two major benefits.First animal welfare and of course this will translate into less economic losses to swine production.

And the second major benefit is the reduction in the use of antimicrobials and a reduction in antimicrobial resistance so this will have a major impact not only in swine production and in the animals but also in terms of public health.

Dr. Segura says one of prototype vaccines showed a very strong protective capacity, demonstrating the approach is sound and the next step is to optimize the production system and to develop an optimal formulation.She says this approach is also applicable to other pathogens for which better vaccines are needed and for those which there are currently no vaccines available.

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