Alternatives to Veterinary ANTimicrobials

The challenge

Antimicrobial resistance in livestock is a public health threat due to the risk of zoonotic transmission to humans and its negative consequences on animal health and welfare when diseases cannot be treated. Antimicrobial treatment options for pigs are increasingly limited because of planned restrictions in the use of colistin and zinc, two current choices for treatment of post-weaning diarrhoea.

The solution

AVANT is a multi-actor inter-sectorial project aimed at developing alternatives to antimicrobials for the management of bacterial infections in pigs, especially diarrhoea during the weaning period, as the major indication for antimicrobial use in livestock in Europe. During pre-clinical studies, efficacy, toxicity, and mode of action of these interventions is tested, and their dosage and formulation optimized. The results and a survey for veterinarian-, farmer- and consumers perception of antimicrobial alternatives, will be used together with legal and economic considerations to select three interventions for large-scale farm trials, assessing clinical efficacy and impact on antimicrobial use.

The main impacts

The AVANT research activities aim to produce a complementary set of alternatives for treatment or prevention of diarrhoea and/or respiratory infections, namely gut-stabilising interventions based on a synbiotic (pre- & probiotic) product and faecal microbiota transplantation, novel veterinary medicinal products containing bacteriophages and polymers for targeted treatment of enterotoxigenic E. coli infections, as well as injectable and oral immunostimulants, feed additive products, and alternative feeding strategies targeting sows and piglets.

AVANT Project Overview

Use of antimicrobials leads to the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance, which is a serious threat to the health of people and animals. However, a further limitation of the use of antimicrobials in animals might put the health and welfare of the animals at risk, hence there is the urgent need to find alternatives for the treatment or prevention of respiratory and digestive tract infections in livestock.

AVANT aims at developing and testing the efficacy and sustainability of alternatives to antimicrobials for the management of pig enteritis, as this disease condition accounts for the majority of antimicrobials used in food animals. Based on the results of pre-clinical studies, including regulatory considerations, the efficacy of the most promising interventions will be assessed by farm trials. Mathematical modelling will be used to predict the effects of these interventions on reduction of antimicrobial use.

AVANT Project Objectives

AVANT aims to produce a complementary set of alternatives bringing them to a TRL 7-8 (close to market entry) for treatment or prevention of post-weaning diarrhoea and respiratory infections, specifically:

  • Targeted treatment of enterotoxigenic coli infections
  • Alternative feeding strategies for sows & piglets
  • Gut-stabilising interventions based on a synbiotic (pre- & probiotic) feed additives
  • Faecal microbiota transplantation
  • Immunostimulating products (injectable & oral)
  • Novel veterinary medicinal products containing bacteriophages & polymers

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 862829.