Funding for E. coli vaccine development

Tuesday, 02 April, 2013

The Canadian Government has provided financial support for the research and development of a second-generation E. coli O157 cattle vaccine. Bioniche Life Sciences received $500,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) to further develop the vaccine.

“We have been working with Dr Brett Finlay at the University of British Columbia on the development of a second generation E. coli O157 cattle vaccine, which is expected to be safer to make, more readily produced with higher yields than the first generation vaccine and may have the potential to cross-protect against other E. coli serotypes,” said Rick Culbert, President of Bioniche One Health.

“There is compelling evidence to show that immunisation of cattle against E. coli O157 will reduce the shedding of this deadly pathogen, and several modelling studies have been done to demonstrate that human illness would be reduced as a result of this reduction in shedding,” added Culbert.

“Since E. coli O157 does not make cattle ill, the rationale for cattle vaccination is to reduce the amount of E. coli O157 being shed into food, water and the environment and, in turn, to reduce exposure by people.”

Bioniche will also explore the ability of the second-generation vaccine to cross-protect against other E. coli serotypes. Although E. coli O157 is the most common serotype causing human infection in North America, other serotypes, including O26, O111, O103, O121, O45 and O145, have been identified in other jurisdictions.

The company’s first generation E. coli O157 cattle vaccine, Econiche, is fully registered in Canada and is available through Canadian veterinarians. Although not yet registered in Australia, it is approved for import.

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