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Rossman said the support is likely to be there. She said the industry has already spent millions of dollars on technologies to fight E. coli in packing houses, and is anxious for strategies that work before slaughter. Her group helped fund research at West Texas A&M University that led the USDA to grant the conditional license. Similar work was also done at Kansas State University.
Guy Loneragan, who led the research at West Texas A&M, said he did his study at a commercial feedlot to see how the vaccine worked in "real world" conditions. Among the cattle that got it, he said, there was an 85 percent reduction in animals shedding O157. Among those that still did, there were 98 percent fewer cells of the bacteris in their feces. He said that logically should mean fewer E. coli illnesses in people.
The conditional license allows Epitopix to market the vaccine immediately, but the company must continue conducting potency and efficacy studies to get full licensure.
Another E. coli vaccine for cattle, developed by Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. of Canada, received full approval there last October and Bioniche is seeking USDA approval to sell it in the U.S. Haq declined to say how soon that might be, but Rick Culbert, president of Bioniche's food safety division, said the main thing left is lining up manufacturing facilities in the U.S., as the USDA requires. A Colorado company, GeneThera Inc., is also working on a vaccine, but it's further away from approval.
On the Net:
Epitopix LCC: http://www.epitopix.com/
CDC FAQs on E. coli:
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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