Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Scientific breakthrough a 'game-changer' for antibiotics
Bacteriophages could work with livestock antibiotics, or replace them altogether.

Finding could safeguard future of some human drugs

Scientists at the University of Leicester have discovered an organism that targets harmful bacteria and leaves ‘good’ bacteria intact in pigs. The discovery could transform the way we treat drug-resistant infections in humans.

In the study, funded by AHDB Pork, researchers isolated 20 bacteriophages - or bacterial viruses - that target 72 strains of drug-resistant bacteria that can cause gut problems in pigs.

The finding suggests that bacteriophages could work with livestock antibiotics, or replace them altogether - helping safeguard the future of some human antibiotics. Researchers say that the discovery could also speed up the progress of similar applications in human medicine.

The breakthrough has been welcomed by agriculture and food industry alliance RUMA, which promotes the responsible use of antibiotics in farm animals.

“The issue of antibiotic resistance is one shared by human and animal medicine, and a number of initiatives across medical and veterinary sciences are attempting to understand and reduce the spread of resistance genes in bacteria,” said RUMA secretary John Fitzgerald.
 
“A discovery such as this could be a real game-changer, not just helping the farming industry to steward antibiotics more effectively but potentially speeding up the development of human medical applications.”

Dr Charlotte Evans, technical senior manager with AHDB Pork, explained that bacteriophages are found everywhere in the environment so they can be regarded as a ‘natural’ defence.

“There’s still a long way to go in terms of trials and licensing but we are very pleased this research, which was started two years ago, has already yielded such promising results,” she said.
 
“Bacteriophage treatment is about using increased volumes of something that is already present to target harmful bacteria. Research suggests they do not harm other organisms because the relevant receptor is not present.”

Dr Evans added that the next move is to determine whether bacteriophages could be applied by spray, injection or vaccination, or by adding to water or feed.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

UK a step closer to ivory ban

News Story 1
 A UK ban on ivory sales is one step closer to coming into force, as the government has introduced the Ivory Bill to parliament. The ban covers items of all ages, rather than just ivory carved after 1947. Anyone breaching the ban will face an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

Conservationists have welcomed the bill, which comes less than six weeks after the government published the results of a consultation on this issue. Around 55 African elephants are now slaughtered for their ivory every day and the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth £17 billion a year.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Strategic alliance to support development of agri-food sector

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast have formed a new strategic alliance that will see both institutions form a research and education partnership.

Under the agreement, the organisations will pool their resources and expertise to support the development of the agri-food sector. It will work across three core themes: enabling innovation, facilitating new ways of working and partnerships.