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Consortium issues call for antimicrobial research concepts

Concepts must be relevant to beef cattle, pigs and/or poultry.

Maintaining the efficacy of antibiotics affects both human and animal health and is a priority for livestock producers. The International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture (ICASA), one of the largest public/private partnerships focused on antibiotic stewardship in animal agriculture, is soliciting calls for research concepts on animal health monitoring and diagnostic technologies.

Antibiotics are essential to preventing, treating and controlling disease in livestock production. The responsible use of antibiotics affects the entire supply chain and is complicated by additional factors such as genetics, nutrition, infectious diseases and environmental stressors, according to the announcement.

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) created ICASA in 2019 to facilitate research that promotes the judicious use of antibiotics, advances animal health and welfare and increases transparency in food production practices. ICASA improves antibiotic stewardship by building cross-sector partnerships among participants representing all stages of the U.S. livestock supply chain.

Through the consortium’s first call for letters of intent, ICASA participants are seeking to collaborate to advance stewardship and improve health outcomes for livestock, FFAR said. Specifically, the letters of intent should describe concepts for the development, improvement and/or validation of animal health monitoring or rapid in-field, pen-side or animal-side diagnostic tools. These technologies can be early stage or close to market and must have potential for implementation by commercial livestock producers, FFAR said.

Concepts must be relevant to beef cattle, pigs and/or poultry. Projects should describe how the work will improve antimicrobial stewardship in animal production, reduce the potential for resistance and/or provide actionable information to antimicrobial prescribers.

FFAR said meritorious research concepts will be invited to submit a full proposal, with the potential for up to $250,000 in research funding and/or access to commercial livestock production facilities. Additional contributions are allowed.

“Leveraging knowledge and resources from diverse organizations will advance antibiotic stewardship and improve health outcomes for livestock,” FFAR executive director Dr. Sally Rockey said. “FFAR is thrilled that ICASA’s 14 participating companies are soliciting these novel and potentially high-impact research concepts.”

Letters of intent are due Feb. 26 and must be submitted via FFAR’s online portal. Applications will be reviewed by ICASA participants and will be evaluated on a variety of factors, including: potential for supply chain implementation, potential for impact, likelihood for successful completion, originality, key personnel qualifications and strength of partnerships.

ICASA is a public/private partnership created by FFAR to advance research on antimicrobial stewardship in animal agriculture. ICASA’s research promotes the judicious use of antibiotics, advances animal health and wellness and increases transparency in food production practices.

FFAR’s initial $7.5 million investment is matched by the ICASA participants for a total investment of $15 million in antimicrobial stewardship research. ICASA’s founding participants include: Advanced Animal Diagnostics, Beef Alliance, Cactus Research, FFAR, HyPlains Research & Education Center, JBS USA, McDonald’s, National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn., National Pork Board, Noble Research Institute, Pipestone Veterinary Services, Tyson Foods, U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and Veterinary Research & Consulting Services.

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