Pork products are important sources of human salmonellosis in the EU and Salmonella spp. represent a major cause of morbidity in pig rearing. The use of antibiotics in livestock production to fight such pathogens is not a sustainable option but alternatives remain scarce. It is therefore crucial to develop safe and affordable multi-pronged methodologies that are robust to evolutionary changes in pathogenic bacteria.
PhagoVax is the first attempt to combine vaccines with phage therapy in order to prevent Salmonellosis in veterinary settings. The PhagoVax concept emerged from our recent discovery that polyvalent vaccines, targeting all Salmonella Typhimurium variants, can force the pathogen to lose its protection against phages (viruses that kill bacteria). Therefore, there should be no way for the targeted bacteria to escape eradication in vaccinated animals treated with the right bacteriophage cocktail.
Our goal is to provide a sound proof of principle for this strategy using Salmonella Typhimurium infection in the mouse model. PhagoVax should be rapidly applicable in livestock infection management, with potential for translation in domestic swine. Note that a major asset for accessing a strictly regulated market in this field is that PhagoVax does not contain live GMO in its composition.
On the longer term, using polyvalent vaccines in combination with bacteriophages could be a viable alternative to antibiotics against many pathogenic bacteria infecting the gut or other anatomical sites such as the lungs (e.g. multi-drug resistant entero-pathogenic E. coli and Klebsiella spp).
The first step will be to assemble a cocktail of phages able to kill Salmonella Typhimurium mutants emerging in vaccinated hosts. Phages are fortunately very abundant in wastewater, easy to isolate and to produce. Their diversity ensures that we will be able to attack Salmonella from different angles thus limiting the chance for resistance to evolve. The second step will be to assess the stability of the bacteriophage cocktail within-host and its efficiency when combined with polyvalent vaccines targeting Salmonella Typhimurium.
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Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 19.05.2021