Synthetic Sugar-Based Strep suis Vaccine Expected to Help Displace Antibiotics

Farmscape for October 26, 2023

Full Interview 14:26 Listen

A synthetic sugar-based vaccine being developed by a multi-institutional team of researchers to prevent Streptococcus suis will help displace the use of antibiotics. Researchers with the University of Montreal and the University of Alberta, with funding from Swine Innovation Porc, have linked a synthetic sugar derived from the coating that protects Streptococcus suis to a protein, enabling the pig’s immune system to recognise the pathogen and they’re using that sugar to develop vaccines to prevent the infection. Dr. Mariela Segura, the Canada Research Chair in Immunology of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Swine and Poultry Infectious Diseases Center in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Montreal, says there is no commercial vaccine and only a few tools to fight the infection.

Quote-Dr. Mariela Segura-University of Montreal:
Actually, the only tool that producers have in hand is the use of autogenous vaccines with unclear results and the use of antibiotics as a prophylactic tool to prevent the disease from appearing before the animal gets sick. This is a concern because the overuse of antibiotics may result in an increased level of antibiotic resistance, not necessarily against the Streptococcus suis itself, but it can be transmitted to other bacteria which can be of importance in public health, which means important in human medicine.
This antibiotic resistance increase has prompted the industry to reduce the use of antibiotics in terms of a prevention tool and, since we don’t have a vaccine, then we don’t have a lot of tools to fight Streptococcus suis. It can be controlled by antibiotics, but if we stop using these antibiotics, then the disease will reappear or will become more frequent or more severe.

Dr. Segura notes one of the synthetic sugar-based prototype vaccines showed a very strong protective capacity demonstrating the approach is sound and the next step is to optimise the production system and to develop an optimal formulation.

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