CSRESS funding poultry vaccine development
The USDA's Cooperative State Research,
Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) National Research Initiative (NRI), is
funding scientists in Arizona who are developing a new vaccine for the poultry
disease, Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) which, in turn, may improve
animal and human health.
APEC has the potential to be as harmful as E.
coli O157:H7, the strain responsible for human illness and death after
consumption of contaminated meat. The genetic similarity between APEC and human
E. coli has led scientists to suspect poultry as a source of Extra-intestinal
Pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC), which is associated with urethral infections,
sepsis, and meningitis.
The vaccine produced during this
project may lead to additional protection for humans against another pathogen,
Salmonella. "We have to understand how bacteria cause disease so that we can
know the best way to fight them," associate research scientist Melha Mellata
said. "We came up with a project where we would protect chickens, not only from
E. coli infection, but also Salmonella, and in doing so, improve human
Antibiotics, the long-time first line of
defence to prevent APEC, have lost their potency as the bacteria have grown more
resistant to treatment. "It's becoming increasingly important to develop a
vaccine to prevent bacterial infection in poultry," Mellata said. "Poultry is
not only a daily food staple, but also a key to human health. For example, the
entire supply of annual human flu vaccine production is made from
new vaccine under development is designed to be effective against both E. coli
and Salmonella. The scientists have already developed three vaccines that are
effective against multiple strains of Salmonella in livestock. By freeing
animals from Salmonella, the vaccine may prevent it from travelling down the
food chain to people. The vaccines, which were approved by the FDA for use in
swine and poultry, are currently on the market.
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