Farmscape for October 18, 2006 (Episode 2276)
The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan has launched a project aimed at developing new alternatives to antibiotics.
VIDO has kicked off a three year project to test the use of naturally occurring compounds capable of stimulating the immune system of animals to kill disease causing pathogens.
Associate director of research Dr. Andy Potter explains these compounds are found in all species.
Clip-Dr. Andy Potter-Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization
They're called host defense peptides and they're just small little molecules, naturally occurring, in again all living species that can kill bacteria and viruses and that type of thing and they do this in two different ways.
They can kill it directly or they can turn on the immune system to kill in an indirect fashion.
What we're trying to do is actually make sure they kill in an indirect fashion because what this will do is avoid the problems associated with organisms becoming resistant as they have with antibiotics so it's and indirect way of approaching the problem of killing organisms.
If we were to develop a new antibiotic, we could almost guarantee that within about five years you would see resistant organisms starting to appear and it simply wouldn't be effective anymore.
Because we're harnessing natural compounds, we believe that any bacterial disease, any viral disease or indeed some parasitic diseases as well can be controlled using this type of technology.
Essentially any type of infectious agent that the body can naturally deal with is a target for this type of technology.
Dr. Potter notes VIDO's role is to prove the concept and the hope is to identify a partner who can take the process to the market place.
He is confident, if such a partner can be found early, it won't be long before we could see products on the market...perhaps a total of five or six years.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council