October 11, 2018
EU-funded project aims to create non-antibiotic solution for lactating cows
PanaMast, an EU-funded project, is looking into bovine mastitis as it deals with the issue of antibiotic resistance, according to the European Commission's Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS).
While mastitis is normally treated using conventional antibiotics, PanaMast is developing the world's first non-antibiotic solution to treat lactating cows.
Called long-acting reactive species (LARS), the novel non-antibiotic antimicrobial technology has so far been found to be effective against all tested microorganisms, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
More importantly, the technology does not induce resistance. Highly effective against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, LARS has also demonstrated an excellent safety/low toxicity profile in vivo and in vitro. It can be administered in different ways, including in aerosolised or nebulised form. its low minimum inhibitory concentrations also make it appropriate for a wide range of therapeutic applications.
In addition, the new treatment also offers significant economic benefits to dairy farmers. With conventional antibiotics, farmers lose milk revenues, since milk from cows undergoing treatment cannot be sold for a period of time during and after treatment.
Furthermore, when antibiotics do not work, infected cows have to be culled. This costs the European and American dairy industries over EUR3 billion (US$3.5 billion) a year. However, when infected cows are treated with LARS, milk can potentially be sold both during and after treatment, significantly benefiting farmers and milk producers.
In a press release published by project leader Westway Health, CEO Dr. Ruairi Friel explained the company's innovative approach: "The genesis of the idea was knowing that there are other ways to kill bacteria like MRSA. This is done every day around the world using disinfectants for example, or through steam cleaning. What we have been able to develop is a new method of killing bacteria which does not harm living tissue. Our solution is based on a combination of compounds inspired by nature, and if we can develop and scale our solution, we believe we can help tackle this global challenge of antibiotic-resistance."
By the end of the 24-month project, PanaMast intends to complete the testing of its product and have it ready for market implementation (technology readiness level 8). Subject to regulatory approval by the European Medicines Agency, the aim is to have the product available on the market by 2021 or 2022.