SWINE DYSENTERY IS A DISEASE OF GLOBAL IMPORTANCE THAT CAUSES LARGE LOSSES IN PIG PRODUCTION.
Swine dysentery is a disease of global significance that leads to large losses in pig production. At present, treatment of the disease involves the use of antibiotics in a race against the development of resistances to new emerging strains. The fact that cultivation of Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, is complex, in combination with the lack of strains with a representative number of isolates, presents a barrier to the development of a universal vaccine. Consequently, it is difficult to control this highly contagious disease which eventually infects the majority of the animals on the farm and whose control entails considerable economic losses.
Between 2000 and 2012 the Brachyspira research group, located in the department of Infectious Diseases of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of León, has investigated more than 1,000 diarrhea outbreaks on pig farms, mainly in Spain and Portugal, but also in other European countries. Swine dysentery has been diagnosed in a high number of these outbreaks which facilitated the large collection of field isolates available to the department today. In March 2012, when the company was set up, the Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, strains were transferred to Aquilón for use in the development of a vaccine to improve the control of this important disease. A vaccine prototype, that has been patented and demonstrated efficacy in controlled infection tests, is now available. Industrial scale-up, one of the most critical points during the development process, has been successfully completed.
The vaccine’s efficacy and safety are currently being confirmed in the first preclinical regulatory trials that will allow the presentation of a licensable product to interested laboratories before demonstrating its efficacy in field outbreaks.
The novel approach to this inactivated vaccine is the result of years of successful work with autovaccines. The vaccine is intended to achieve 70 % coverage against strains with a clonal origin identical or similar to that of the strain included in the formulation. This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union and the Regional Government of Castile and León (through the Instituto para la Competitividad Empresarial de Castilla y León — ICE), with the aim of encouraging and promoting R&D activities and supporting the creation and consolidation of innovative local companies.