• Tackling pathogen control in livestock

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Tackling pathogen control in livestock

May 08 2024

A dedicated virus research laboratory based at Cardiff University’s Medicentre, seeking to reduce antimicrobial resistance in farm animals and the environment, has been opened by UK-based Feed, Food & Future for development and testing of antiviral capabilities to tackle pathogens of concern to livestock.

The company has been working with the University of South Wales in a pivotal industry-wide study to compare the antibacterial properties of so-called antibiotic replacement, which has resulted in evidence-led recommendations for the control of pathogens of concern to the livestock sector.

Recognising that the use of antibiotics for secondary infection often follows primary viral infection, the research also focuses on viral pathogens, such as influenza and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus, the latter which has so far eluded attempts of control through vaccination. Pilot work has shown very encouraging results with some naturally-sourced active ingredients showing promise as anti-viral agents. Scientists at the laboratory will screen, test and develop active ingredients based on their ability to target specific viruses.

Company co-founder Dr Naheeda Portocarero states “We have always taken a holistic approach to human, livestock and environmental health. When considering antibiotic replacements, we look not only at efficacy, but whether the replacement itself may create resistance. Whether there are circumstances, for example once an infection has taken hold of a group of animals, where it may be necessary to use conventional antibiotics rather than risking welfare. “ 

The new facility is also said to be the first of its kind to offer commercial testing through industry partnerships, a boost to South Wales’ growing innovation infrastructure.

Portocarero adds “We work with the industry to develop solutions which benefit their business as well as meeting the needs of consumers and society. We are privileged to work with the best scientists and key stakeholders. Our facility offers an opportunity for the livestock industry to play a major role in tackling antibiotic resistance.”

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