A scientific conference organised by Polish MEP, Adam Jarubas (EPP), and Greek MEP, Emmanouil Fragkos (ECR), together with the PhageEU coalition, which brings together stakeholders representing phages in industry and science, was held at the European Parliament in Brussels. Speakers and participants emphasised the benefits of speeding up work on the approval of phages technology at the EU level.
Speaking at the event were representatives of the European Commission, including Luis Vivas-Alegre (head of sector research and innovation coordination, directorate general for Agriculture and Rural Development) and Aureline. Perez (team leader, AMR, directorate general for Health and Food Safety), Dariusz. Goszczynski (director general of the National Poultry Council – Chamber of Commerce), Prof Jaroslav Dastych (CEO of Proteon Pharmaceuticals) and Prof David Gally (personal chair of microbial genetics, The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh).
“We aim to minimise the use of antibiotics in agricultural production without increasing the costs or reducing its productivity. Phages are an effective novel tool that substantially reduces the need for antibiotic use and can even help reduce the spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in the environment. Using them as feed additives does not result in developing drug resistance in bacteria,” explained Prof Dastych.
During the debate, speakers emphasised the need to speed up work on the approval of phages technology at EU level and the inclusion of phages on the list of feed additives. MEP Jarubas pointed out that the authorisation of phage technology for use in agriculture, animal husbandry, processing and health has been adopted in other countries (including India, Brazil and the US) but in the past has been overlooked in Europe. “These countries are now significant competitors for European Union agriculture,” he said.
Bacteriophages are viruses that, as feed additives, prevent the development of bacterial diseases. The company is awaiting a decision from the European Commission on the approval of phage technology. EU agriculture commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, who visited Proteon Pharmaceuticals’ laboratory in May 2022, also highlighted the importance of phages: “Bacteriophage products contribute to protecting the health of livestock, including countering the problem of antibiotic resistance and positively influencing animal welfare. Less chemistry, more nature in agriculture.”