October 16, 2003



Canada's Research to Produce Healthier Herds


A Canadian cancer-research company, PharmaGap, has created a new, non-invasive immunology test that can identify the natural resistance of breeding stock to disease. They claimed by developing such resistance in a lineage could lead to lower levels of antibiotics in meat products and healthier herds.

The blood test could apply to all mammals, though it has been tested only in humans and swine so far. It was developed in collaboration with the Canadian Center for Swine Improvement (CCSI) and P.E.I Pork. In-house trials have shown the test to be effective. The first real-life commercial application, which tested the effect of an animal nutraceutical feed ingredient from ImmuDyne Canada has confirmed the success.

Daniel Hurnik, a swine researcher at Atlantic Veterinary College of the University of Prince Edward Island and his research group, conducted the test. He will present results of the study at the annual meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) in March 2004 in Iowa.

Besides genetic selection and breeding, producers could benefit from establishing an immunity profile of their animals to better manage herds. This should result in a significant increase of productivity and net profits, the company says. This is because tabulating of each animal's immune level would mean producers could market animals more prone to diseases earlier.

High immune capacity animals could be an alternative to using antibiotics to reduce disease, PharmaGap says. This could become increasingly important as the European community's progressive ban on antibiotics in meats will lead to a total ban by 2007.
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