Zoetis Inc., formerly the animal health business unit of Pfizer Inc., and The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. have announced a collaboration for research on salmonella in cattle.
The Roslin Institute has received funding from the U.K.'s Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to support collaborative research with Zoetis that will bring industry knowledge and input into its academic research program. For three years, BBSRC will contribute 80% of funding for the study — close to $1 million — and Zoetis will provide the remaining 20% plus in-kind services via research materials and expertise.
"Salmonella infections in cattle are significant for two reasons," Roslin professor Mark Stevens said. "The bacteria can cause gastroenteritis and abortion in the animals, thereby harming their productivity and welfare, and contamination of beef and the farm environment can lead to infections in people.
"Cattle are a significant source of human salmonella infections," he added. "Although the animal's lymphatic system normally helps fight infection, some types of salmonella have adapted to evade the immune system and survive in lymph nodes."
Researchers at Roslin and Zoetis will jointly investigate how salmonella enters and persists within the bovine lymphatic system and can lead to contamination of beef for human consumption.
"A key gap in our knowledge is how salmonella enter the lymphatic system in the first place and then persist within it, constraining our ability to design strategies to control infection," Stevens added. "We will examine the role of host and bacterial factors in this process and use the results of our research study to identify new and better targets that could help us control salmonella infections in cattle."
Zoetis has been an industry partner with BBSRC on a variety of research programs since 2008 to help advance the understanding of critical animal diseases and develop new solutions for food animal producers.