Posted: January 26, 2012
Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada) has announced a signed agreement with the Department of Medical Microbiology of the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University to embark on the development of innovative vaccination strategies against bacterial udder infections (mastitis) in dairy cattle.
The project is titled “Evasion Molecules in Bovine Mastitis Vaccines” (EVAC) and its objective is to develop a series of vaccines against difficult to treat infections with certain bacteria known to cause bovine mastitis. Examples of such bacteria are Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis and Escherichia coli. The EVAC project is part of the ALTANT (ALTernatives for ANTibiotics) program that is coordinated by Immuno Valley, a public-private research consortium. The program is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation as well as by academic and industrial partners with the aim to generate knowledge and alternative tools that complement the available treatments to control infectious diseases in farm animals.
Dr. Paul Vermeij, senior project leader at Merck Animal Health’s Discovery & Technology Department in Boxmeer (the Netherlands) explains: “In the open innovation model as applied in the EVAC project, we are combining the veterinary vaccine expertise of Merck Animal Health with the knowledge on evasion molecules of the Department of Medical Microbiology at UMC Utrecht and the expertise on bovine immunology available at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University.”
“The technologies developed within the ALTANT program may result in an efficacious vaccine against bovine mastitis. In combination with our current therapeutic tools, it can result in unprecedented possibilities to control the disease. In addition to improvement of animal welfare and economic advantages for the farmer, such a vaccine can also contribute to a responsible use of antibiotics,” added Dr. Rene Aerts, vice-president Global Biologicals R&D at Merck Animal Health.
Source: Merck Animal Health