GBP1.5 million grant to fund research into Salmonella

13-07-2006 | |
GBP1.5 million grant to fund research into Salmonella

Three UK institutions have been awarded a total of GBP1.5 million by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in the UK to collaborate on a study into Salmonella that may help prevent future outbreaks of disease due to the potentially deadly bacterium.

The project will investigate disease processes during Salmonella infection of livestock using state-of-the-art technology to assess the role of every gene of Salmonella in infecting cattle, pigs and chickens. This work is fundamental to the eventual development of intervention strategies, including animal vaccines.

Research teams will be headed by Professor Duncan Maskell, the Marks & Spencer Professor of Farm Animal Health, Food Science and Food Safety at the University of Cambridge, Dr Mark Stevens at the Institute for Animal Health, Compton, and Professor Ian Charles at UCL (University College London).

Food poisoning in humans often results from the consumption of Salmonella-containing foods derived from chickens, pigs and cattle. It is hoped that by reducing the ability of the bacteria to live in these farm animals through the use of a vaccine or other intervention, the incidence of human infections may be reduced and the health of the animals improved.

Salmonella enterica bacteria cause millions of bouts of gastric illness and thousands of deaths each year worldwide. Researchers believe that the number of cases of Salmonella poisonings may be underestimated, with the actual figure approaching hundreds of millions.