SAFEGUARDING FOOD PRODUCTS
Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a bacterium that causes life-threatening infection in people. The bacterium can be ingested from under-cooked meat or from food items contaminated by raw meat or manure containing E. coli. Cattle are the main source E. coli O157:H7 and do not develop disease themselves but can shed substantial numbers of bacteria into the environment via their dung.
from farm to fork
Ensuring high levels of food safety requires special control measures at all stages of the food chain, from farm to fork. Abattoirs try to minimise contamination of meat by ensuring that animals and the plant are clean. Hygienic handling in meal preparation is also key and adequate cooking at high temperature or pasteurisation will eliminate the bacterium. Despite these efforts, outbreaks of E. coli infection in people are not declining; for example, in the USA 95 400 E. coli O157 infections occur each year .
To target the bacterium at farm level, a vaccine has been developed by Prof. David Gally, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, and Dr Tom McNeilly, Moredun Research Institute . The vaccine is designed to generate resistance (immunity) in calves, with the goal of reducing bacterial shedding in dung.
Roslin Technologies has invested in the commercial development of this vaccine and have taken on an exclusive global license. They have brought together an international team to manufacture and further test its safety and effectiveness.
A key market for the vaccine is large cattle feedlots, so part of the development phase includes an extensive field study in the US. The US vet team are taking dung samples to measure the amount of bacterium shed from the animals over several months as well as bloods to check they are mounting the right sort of immune response. The same vaccine batch is being safety tested in Scotland.
Prof. David Gally
Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh
Dr Tom McNeilly
Moredun Research Institute
The final results are due early 2021. Aligned with these trials, Roslin Technologies has commissioned a gap analysis to ensure the vaccine will be ready to comply with regulatory needs in target markets.
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