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Weekly Overview: New Research Looks to Viruses to Treat Bacterial Infection in Pigs

1 June 2015, at 12:00am

ANALYSIS - In this week's news, pig producers could soon be using viruses to treat bacterial infections thanks to exciting new research from the University of Leicester, UK.

Prof Martha Clokie from the University is going to be leading research into certain types of viruses that could be used to treat Brachyspira and Salmonella in pigs.

Speaking at the BPEX Innovation Conference, held in Stoneleigh Park, Prof Clokie said that viruses behave as selective parasites of bacteria. So ‘friendly’ viruses, known as bacteriophages, can be used as specific and targeted treatments for certain bacteria.

Also speaking at the conference, Alison Wakeham, a senior research scientist at the University of Worcester, explained how air sampling techniques used by the cucumber farming industry may help indoor pig farmers reduce the spread of disease.

“Technology that identifies infectious diseases as soon as possible is important to prevent unnecessary losses. So, scientists have developed air sensors that sample the air and alert growers to bio-aerosols that may be carrying disease," said Ms Wakeham.

Air sampling has potential in the pig industry and "I am sure it is only a matter of time before this technology is available in the pig sector”.

In disease news, both France and Chile have been declared free of classical swine fever and further cases of African swine fever in wild boar have been reported in Estonia, Poland and Latvia.