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 portfolio comprises a variety of alternatives for treatment or prevention of diarrhoea and/or respiratory infections, namely gut-stabilizing 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 coli infections; immuno-stimulating injectable and feed additive products; as well as alternative feeding strategies targeting sows and piglets. All steps are supported by regulatory advice for quick market entry post-project. Generated and existing data on antimicrobial use, pig demographics and projected consumption of pork, will be used in mathematical modelling to estimate the reduction in antimicrobial use that could be achieved by 2030, if the AVANT alternatives were widely adopted in pig production.