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 is one of the most fascinating projects I have been involved in during 24 years of research on AMR. By bringing alternatives to antimicrobials closer to the market, the project can have a tremendous impact on animal health, food safety and farm sustainability. As an EU citizen, I am pleased to make a small contribution to development of possible solutions to AMR. As a researcher, I am excited to contribute to validation and refinement of criteria and methods for assessing efficacy and safety of unconventional veterinary products. As the project coordinator, I am honoured to coordinate a unique multi-actor consortium formed by highly qualified academic and industrial partners that collectively concentrate on the same goal: reducing antimicrobial use by demonstrating safe and effective alternatives”.

“AVANT will bring forward new technologies to the marked that allow modern pig farms to wean healthy pigs without the use of antibiotics or with a very limited use, and at the same time ensuring a high productivity of the pigs. This will in turn gives a more cost-efficient pig production and will safe-guard human health, due to a reduced risk of development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Furthermore, the higher health of the pigs, will ensure a better utilization of the feed and thus support the global climate through a lower CO2 emission per produced kg of pork. For Science, the network of AVANT and the more basic research performed in the Consortium, will ensure good critical mass of knowhow at the Universities and support the development of even new technologies that can be of benefit for the pig production in the future.”

“Post-weaning diarrhoea is a serious issue for the swine industry. For more than 35 years, BIOMIN has been committed to providing non-antibiotic feeding solutions to the livestock sector. By applying our scientific know-how to real on-farm challenges, we aim to make farm animals healthier and more productive. This benefits the industry and society as a whole through greater sustainability, a lower risk of antibiotic resistance, enhanced food security and better food safety.”

“The wide innovation potential of AVANT will have a huge impact on the use of antimicrobials, and consequently on animal welfare and public health, at international level. Sustainable reductions in antibiotic use will depend on research that develops efficient, safe, and cost-effective alternatives that can be incorporated into comprehensive herd health management programs. AVANT therefore fits perfectly with the vision of SFR to responsibly and efficiently feed the world by developing and implementing nutritional knowledge.”



Phage therapy: Fighting antimicrobial resistance(C) RTDS, Shutterstock

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