Antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance is nowadays one of the most serious threats for global health, food safety and development, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the last decades, its massive use spread to treat diseases both in human as well as in production animals, which favored that infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis or septicemia be now more and more difficult to cure, as the bacteria have become resistant to this type of drugs. In fact, experts from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates that 25,000 deaths are occurring annually in Europe due to this type of superbacteria, as commonly known.

In addition to the inappropriate use of antibiotics in human health, as the WHO has pointed out, another relevant cause that is dangerously speeding up this subject is the widespread use of these drugs in production animals –both livestock as well as aquaculture- to prevent diseases or as growth promoters. In this way, this international institution encourages for preventive actions in the agro-food sector which include: the use of antibiotics in animals only under strict veterinary supervision and just to treat diseases; avoid their use as growth promoters, always choosing vaccination and other alternatives instead of antibiotics; and promote biological safety on farms.

Being aware of the significance of this universal problem, one of the main business approaches of Bionaturis is focused in developing alternatives to antibiotics in animal health, either vaccines –as WHO recommends -or feed additives, able to meet the needs of producers and food requirements in the world. BNT006, a growth promoter and immune enhancer for poultry and swine, which is already on the market in Mexico and in registration phase in China, addressed this goal. The application of this peptide-based nutritional supplement is being evaluated for bovine with the same purpose (Bovihealth project, which is performed in collaboration with the COVAP company and co-founded by Technological Corporation of Andalusia). BNT006 stand for a method to improve the immune response as well as to raise the daily weight gains and the conversion rate. These improvements will enhance vaccines efficacy, encourage reaction against infections, reduce both mortality and retarded animal’s occurrence, as well as increase final animals weight or reduce the time required in farms to get it. Any improvement in the ability of animals to turn the food into commercial products and higher immune protection could increase the producer return.

Vaccines for aquaculture

Along with cattle, the development of aquaculture is also essential to meet the universal needs of feeding, now and in a near future. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization Of the United Nations (FAO), the relevance of this sector is such that, during 2014, we have consumed more fish coming from aquaculture than from the sea. Within this sector, the use of antibiotics also spread in the 1980s, as a simple and efficient method to prevent and treat diseases; and, finally, it become a usual practice that contributes to generate resistances. However, the experience of salmon farming in Norway confirms that it is possible to reduce the use of antibiotics till it disappears almost completely –as it is a reality in this country today (More information)– through vaccination programs and other preventive actions. In this context, Bionaturis is also offering alternatives to traditional treatment for fish farming as is the case of BNT011, an oral vaccine developed to prevent a very important bacterial disease in salmonids, that is currently in pivotal studies phase.

“The emergence of resistances is a turning point in current medicine and health biotechnology, as it forces researchers to seek alternative solutions to diseases that were believed controlled for decades with antibiotics ”, the Chief Technical Officer of Bionaturis, Felix Risco, has stated. “Since 1980s there is no relevant innovation in this area; because of that, the need for innovative alternatives in both human and animal health is essential. In this sense, Bionaturis proposal is leaded to tackle one of the main reasons of this global concern, animal health, focusing on prevention instead of treatment and implementing cost-effective solutions with a very significant scientific background, which makes this even more valuable”.

The World Antibiotic Awareness Week is held on 14th-20th November. It is an international activity devoted to awareness of society about the importance of this new ‘Post-Antibiotic Era’, as experts so-called after detection of “Nightmare bacteria” (next post about this topic).

For further information about the World Antibiotic Awareness Week, please click here.

About Bionaturis Group

Bionaturis Group offers “premium” solutions for human and animal health; currently comprises four companies (Bionaturis, Biobide, ZIP Solutions, and BNT Pacific) and two subsidiaries (Biobide USA and BNT China Biosciences) located in six different places around the world. Bionaturis is listed on the Spanish stock exchange for SMEs (trading code BNT).