Discoveries Related to Brachyspira Expected to Help in Developing New Vaccines

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Farmscape for May 21, 2020

Full Interview 19:34 Listen

Discoveries related to one of the bacterial species responsible for swine dysentery disease, could lead to the creation of vaccines to prevent the infection. A re-emergence of swine dysentery disease since 2009-2010 has been linked to the emergence of a novel bacteria, Brachyspira hampsonii. In hopes of paving the way to the development of vaccines to prevent swine dysentery, scientists have been investigating the mechanisms the pathogen uses to cause infection. Dr. Matheus Costa, an Adjunct Professor with the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an Assistant Professor with the University of Minnesota, says we understand now how the bacteria prevents the pig from developing a strong immune response following infection.

Clip-Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
It looks the bacteria shuts down very specific triggers that would allow the pig to build an immune response. When it shuts down these triggers, it essentially shuts down inflammation that would develop a response that would be sustainable for the whole lifetime of this pig. Instead of being able to defend itself against a novel infection weeks down the road, the bacteria just shuts down this response therefore the pig can not prevent them. We’ve also learned that the bacteria seems to play a bit with the microbiome and use the other bacteria that are already present in the gut to help it cause more lesions. Brachyspira comes in, shuts down the defence response and when it does that it allows the gut microhome to help Brachyspira to cause more lesions.

Dr. Costa says these discoveries shed a light on why previous efforts to develop a vaccine for swine dysentery may have failed. He says now that we understand how the bacteria shuts down the specific triggers of immunity, we may be able to reverse that by exposing the pig to the right parts of the bacteria to induce a long lasting immunity.

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