Vaccination of Cattle to Reduce Public Health Risk of E. coli O157 Featured in the Canadian Journal of Public Health

Feb 28, 2013, 17:00 ET from Bioniche Life Sciences Inc.

-Bioniche Food Safety being renamed to Bioniche One Health-

BELLEVILLE, ON, Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: BNC) (ASX: BNC), a research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company, today announced that the latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Public Health features an article about the importance of reducing the public health risk of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 by immunizing cattle.

The article, by Dr. Glenn G. Smith et al, discusses the fact that many new and emerging diseases of humans are zoonotic, meaning that they can be transmitted from animals to humans. It noted that there are many different strains of E. coli that live in the human intestine and cause no disease. However, one Enterohemorrhagic E. coli serotype, O157, which often resides in cattle, releases toxins that can cause severe illness in humans. Only a small number (fewer than 10 bacteria) are required to cause serious human illness. The article notes that, while there are numerous verotoxigenic E. coli serotypes, O157 is the strain most frequently associated with human illness in Canada. In addition to outbreaks caused by contaminated meat, human exposure to E. coli O157 is regularly traced to contaminated fruits and vegetables; unpasteurized milk and fruit juice; potable and recreational water such as lakes, rivers and streams; and animals at fairs, exhibitions and petting zoos (through direct contact).

The article notes that E. coli O157 colonizes in the intestines of cattle and has not been associated with clinical disease of the carrier animal. The bacterium is shed in the feces, and manure from beef and dairy farms, used as a fertilizer for crops, is a source of contamination for the general environment as well as for surface and ground water.

The article discusses human infection from E. coli O157, noting that symptoms of primary illness begin 3-10 days after infection with E. coli O157 bacteria and range from diarrhea and fever to severe bloody diarrhea to Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome and death. Long-term studies following patients infected with E. coli O157 have documented secondary illnesses due to hypertension, cardiovascular and kidney disease as well as arthritis.

The article points out that many steps have been taken along the farm-to-fork continuum to reduce the risk of infection from E. coli O157, such as consumer education about food handling practices, better retail and transport refrigeration, test and hold procedures at the processing stage, and hide washes and carcass pasteurization during harvest. The article states that, currently, little is being done on the farm to reduce E. coli O157 prevalence prior to harvest. As part of a multiple-hurdle approach, more can be done at this stage to further reduce the public health risk of illness due to E. coli O157, including cattle vaccination.

The article notes that published data show immunization of cattle can decrease the April to October E. coli O157 seasonal prevalence spike.. Data also show that cattle vaccination decreases shedding of E. coli O157, which reduces the risk of human illness. By reducing colonization and shedding, vaccination also reduces the probability for environmental transmission of E. coli O157 within commercial farm operations, thus gradually limiting the re-infection cycle within the herd. Modeling by Matthews et al predicts that interventions aimed at preventing high bacterial loads could be highly effective strategies for reducing prevalence of E. coli O157.

The article concludes that cattle are routinely immunized against common bovine pathogens to prevent infection and disease. Incorporation of this additional vaccine to reduce a public health risk would easily fit into existing herd health management protocols within all production systems. The majority of reported outbreaks with verotoxigenic E. coli are due to the O157 serotype. Evidence indicates that other serotypes such as O26, O111, O103, O121, O45 and O145 also contribute to human illness. Data clearly show that vaccination of cattle with the E. coli O157 Type III protein vaccine decreases E. coli O157 shedding.

"In spite of all of the compelling evidence, our Econiche® cattle vaccine against E. coli O157 which is fully registered and available in Canada at $3 per dose, is only receiving limited uptake by Canadian cattle producers," said Mr. Rick Culbert, President of Bioniche One Health (formerly Bioniche Food Safety). "Published scientific studies show that this vaccine reduces the shedding of E. coli O157 and several modelling studies have been done demonstrating that human health risk from this pathogen would be reduced through cattle vaccination."

Bioniche One Health

The Company is changing the name of its Food Safety division to "Bioniche One Health" to reflect its focus on developing vaccines and therapeutic solutions to zoonotic pathogens, including Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157, which have animal reservoirs, but also have a direct impact on public health and the environment.

Bioniche One Health is responsible for researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing veterinary biopharmaceutical products to improve public health and the environment. The leading initiative for this division has been the development and commercialization of a cattle vaccine to reduce the spread of the E. coli O157 bacterium, which can be deadly to humans. The vaccine - Econiche® - is fully registered in Canada, is approved for importation into Australia, and has received Special Treatment Certificate authorization for UK veterinary surgeons to use on visitor open farms.

About Bioniche Life Sciences Inc.

Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. is a research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, manufacturing, and marketing of proprietary and innovative products for human and animal health markets worldwide. The fully-integrated company employs more than 200 skilled personnel and has three operating divisions: Human Health, Animal Health, and One Health. The Company's primary goal is to develop and commercialize products that advance human or animal health and increase shareholder value.

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