“Antibiotics of the Future” – Wall Street Journal, 16 December 2013

Misuse of antibiotics in people and livestock is rampant, and has caused the formation of antibiotic-resistant germs to speed up. As a result, scientists are trying to create new antibiotics that will fight the germs that existing antibiotics can’t fight.

Scientists are using varying methods to develop new antibiotics, such as adding silver, which can increase the antibiotics’ ability to combat germs. Researchers are also employing the bacteria’s own genetic sequencing to accelerate the creation of more powerful drugs.

In the US, almost two million people are infected yearly by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, resulting in thousands of deaths. It’s natural for antibiotics to become less efficient over time: bacteria develops a resistance, which means new antibiotics need to be created regularly. Both misuse of antibiotics and a decline in antibiotic development since 1990 have added fuel to the fire.

Researchers now have the capability to develop new antibiotics by studying germs’ genomes and looking for certain gene patterns. Most antibiotics are cultivated from the bacteria’s toxins—analyzing a germs’ genes has proven to be a great, albeit slow, method to creating new antibiotics.

Researchers are also looking for ways to render germs powerless. A person becomes infected when the bacteria’s population grows to a certain amount; scientists are trying to figure out if there’s a way to break communication between the individual microbes. In addition, scientists are trying to subdue toxins and other signaling molecules that are fundamental for an infection to advance.

February 28, 2014

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NIAA Animal Disease Traceability Forum White Paper Released

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), an organization geared towards developing resolutions in different areas of the animal agriculture industry, recently released another White Paper, “Bringing Industry and Regulatory Leaders Together to Create Sensible Solutions”, a summary of the information offered at the Joint Strategy Forum on Animal Disease Traceability.

On December 20, 2012, the USDA introduced the Traceability for Livestock Moving Interstate rule, which was put into effect in March 11, 2013, and is a major element of the US’s Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) program, a system that identifies, tags and tracks livestock.

According to the USDA’s new rule, livestock transported between states, or interstate, must first be officially identified and carry an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI) or other identification documentation, like owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. The law is pertinent to cattle, bison, poultry, sheep, goats, swine, captive cervids, and horses and other equine species that are transported interstate. Cattle less than 18 months old are not required to have documentation when crossing state lines, unless the animals are being used for shows, exhibits, rodeos or recreational events.

The USDA hopes to have all official ear tags with the official ear tag shield by March 11, 2014, and all official ear tags, that are on animals, to bear the shield.

The goal of the ADT program is to reduce the spread and impact of US animal and livestock diseases. If a disease outbreak occurs, then the program will assist the government in finding the source of the geographical location and diseased animal.

While it has been difficult ensuring that the ADT program is fully enacted, the USDA’s new ruling will enforce the tagging and tracking of animals and livestock.

Read our previous post on the NIAA’s Antimicrobial Use and Resistance White Paper.

September 9, 2013

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www.fluidmanagementsystem.com     subodh@fluidmanagementsystem.com

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Fluid Management Systems Granted Utility Patent

photo 4On June 18th, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted FMS a utility patent for a system that manages inventory through a non-invasive measurement process. USPTO also approved a trademark — VETrak — for commercial applications. FMS has several pending provisional and utility patents for human- and animal-health applications.

The measurement system developed by FMS is envisioned as a system to track injectable medications administered in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices. The technology resulting from this vision is highly adaptable; the first iteration of the technology will be implemented in the animal-health market.

photo 8

FMS is currently employing commercial VETrack units at swine farms in Illinois and Iowa. FMS is also in discussions with Lexington-based equine and pharma-manufacturing companies to expand the technology’s applicability to additional animal farms, as well as the human-health field.

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

July 19, 2013

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FDA Sets Agenda for Veterinary Antimicrobial Meetings

The FDA and USDA are finally initializing dialogue on the subject of antimicrobial use in animals, through a series of five meetings that will take place across the country. The meetings will permit the public to weigh in on any challenges that veterinarians and producers will confront under new proposed regulations for veterinary management of antimicrobial use. The meetings will also center on other challenges, such as how producers can better locate veterinary services. The first meeting took place last week, April 9, in Bowling Green, KY, with the rest of the meetings spread out over April, May and June.

More information on this subject is also available from CattleNetwork.com

The FDA is working towards a goal of reasonable use of antimicrobials in medicated feed or drinking water for livestock, which will slowly allow for the elimination of antimicrobials in treating humans. This, in turn, will grant veterinarians more oversight of the existing therapeutic uses of antimicrobials.

Dates and locations of meetings:

  • April 23, 2013, in Olympia, Wash.
  • May 8, 2013, in Fort Collins, Colo.
  • May 21, 2013, in Pierre, S.D.
  • June 4, 2013, in College Station, Texas

You can find specific times and locations here.

We applaud the proactive actions taken by both FDA and USDA to engage the public and obtain a consensus from all the key stake holders — i.e. animal & human health service providers, the animal agriculture business sector, drug manufactures and consuming public — before enacting any legislation and regulations. This course of action is likely to yield databased decisions, striking a balance between food availability, safety, costs and jobs.

See our other entries related to antimicrobial use and antibiotics:
Study Shows Bacteria Moves From Animals to Humans
Conference to Examine Transformative Effect of Technology on Human-Animal Health
Antimicrobial Use and Resistance — NIAA Symposium White Paper Released
Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Surround Big Swine Farms in China & US
Farm Use of Antibiotics Defies Scrutiny

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

April 16, 2013

Fluid Management Systems

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www.fluidmanagementsystem.com     subodh@fluidmanagementsystem.com

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“Study Shows Bacteria Moves From Animals to Humans” – New York Times, 27 March 2013

A new study by Britain and Denmark shows that bacteria does indeed move from animals to humans, a claim constantly denied by the agriculture and food industries.

The British and Danish researchers pooled their data from two small Danish farms, and through genetic sequencing, determined that a strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria was capable of being transmitted from animals to humans. The new report clearly shows the affect and risk that antibiotics have on both livestock and humans alike; this research is, without a doubt, the first of its kind to show a direct connection between animals and humans.

We’ve written and reported on this topic numerous times, as the link between human and animal health becomes a bigger global issue. This month, the American Humane Association is holding their first human-animal health conference in New York, which will focus on the “impact of innovation and technology and their crossover applications for human and animal health.” This is a step in the right direction for everyone involved in human and animal health sectors — consumers, scientists, veterinarians, doctors, hospitals, clinics, animal feeding operations, farmers, drug manufactures, and state, federal and international regulatory agencies  — to identify what can be done to objectively understated and improve the relationship between the human and animal health sectors.

See our previous blogs on this subject also:
Dead Pigs Worry Shanghai
Conference to Examine Transformative Effect of Innovation on Human-Animal Health
Antimicrobial Use and Resistance — NIAA Symposium White Paper Released
Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Surround Big Swine Farms in China & US
Farm Use of Antibiotics Defies Scrutiny

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

April 2, 2013

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“Conference to Examine Transformative Effect of Innovation and Technology on Human-Animal Health and Mutual Bond” – Market Watch, 20 March 2013

Several times over the past few months, we have written about the need for a cooperative relationship between the human and animal health sectors, and something is finally being done. The first national conference, “Transforming Human-Animal Health and the Human-Animal Bond through Technology and Innovation”, will be held by the American Humane Association next month in New York, concentrating on the “impact of innovation and technology and their crossover applications for human and animal health.” Specifically, America’s leaders in science, medicine, philanthropy and business will discuss how research can be used to expedite advances in human and animal health, especially through new devices and technology.

The conference will deliberate on “precision-driven, predictive, personalized, preventive, and participatory healthcare” for animals and humans through the utilization of mobile technology. Researchers from both human and animal health fields will come together to analyze evidence of health and disease in our 60,000+ vertebrates species, which will increase and solidify connections and discoveries between human and animal health. Though the agriculture industry vehemently denies any link between animal and human health, several researchers in China found that it is only a question of when diseases and antibiotic resistance will travel from animals to humans.

Technology will also be a great benefit to the conference: technology and crowd sourcing can aid scientists and researchers in identifying health trends and environmental risk factors, allowing for the development of new, personalized medicines for humans and animals alike.

This a very positive move to engage animal and human health practitioners, drug manufactures, regulators, consumer advocates and activists in listening, talking  and  collaborating. Aided by explosive technology growth worldwide, these much needed and overdue activities and dialogue will eventually lead to better health and environment for both animals and humans at minimal societal costs.

See also:
Antimicrobial Use and Resistance — NIAA Symposium White Paper Released
Farm Use of Antibiotics Defies Scrutiny

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

March 21, 2013

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“Oral Fluids for Disease Detection Gaining in Popularity” – National Hog Farmer, 4 February 2013

Typically, samples of tissue, blood, feces, and serum are used for most diagnostic tests; however, in the last few years, oral fluids have been used to identify particular pathogens in pigs.

The Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (ISUVDL) has been using oral fluids from pigs to detect the swine flu virus, among other viruses, and to classify both North American and European strains. Positive results from oral fluids are used as an indicator that such pathogens are present in a group of pigs, rather than disease diagnosis. Sampling oral fluids have become a preferred method for detecting swine flu, as oral fluids are a more sensitive and economical approach over serum sampling, as well as a more animal-friendly system.

Swine influenza virus A (SIV) is widely present in pigs of all ages; but SIV shedding (the infectious period) can be brief, usually taking only 2-3 days. Rather than nasal swabs or tissues, oral fluids have become a better means of identifying pigs that are currently shedding SIV.

ISUVDL has found that idenfitying other viruses using oral fluids, such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), can be better developed by:

1. Attention to details in collecting oral fluids to minimize amounts of feces or feed in the samples;

2. Immediate chilling of the oral fluid sample at collection and maintaining the “cold chain” through the entire submission process; and

3. Choosing samples with the highest concentration of virus for sequencing. Currently, data from the ISUVDL suggests that sequencing success from serum and oral fluids is fairly similar if starting concentration is similar.

Though these particulars have shown a higher success rate in detecting PRRS, they also help in the detection of SIV.

Such developments are very important: healthy animals lower the cost and safety of meat proteins for the ever-growing, -demanding and health-conscious human consumer.

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

February 11, 2013

Fluid Management Systems

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“Human Muscle, Regrown on Animal Scaffolding” – New York Times, 16 September 2012

The Defense Department’s Office of Technology Transition is funding a new project that has the potential to help thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who have been injured and lost large amounts of muscle mass from their limbs. The trial will aid 80 patients, both veterans and civilians, in growing new limb muscle through a material called extracellular matrix.

Extracellular matrix, a material that exists in both people and animals, is the natural scaffolding that forms the foundation for tissues and organs. It is made by cells, and mainly composed of collagen and other proteins; only very recently did scientists realize its true purpose: extracellular matrix tells the body to grow and restore tissues and organs.

Scientists are using matrix from pigs, sheep and other animals to stimulate growth of replacement tissue in humans. In the past, extracellular matrix from animals has been effectively used as a reinforcing layer to aid in the restoration of damaged rotator cuffs and hernias.

This method has successfully regrown muscle in one patient so far, Marine Sgt. Ron Strang who lost part of his leg muscle in an explosion in Afghanistan. Extracellular matrix extracted from pig urinary bladder was used to regrow muscle in Sgt. Strang’s leg. Post-surgery, Strang’s body instantly responded to the matrix, signaling stem cells to come to the area and become muscle cells.

Patients must still have some leftover muscle and nerves so that the muscle can work. Scar tissue is removed before inserting the matrix, so that the matrix can interact with healthy tissues and be near the bloodstream and source of cells. The matrix needs to be inserted into the muscle so that the matrix is activated when the muscle begins moving again — this happens immediately after surgery, when the patient begins an accelerated regimen of physical therapy. Moving the muscle tells the body that the matrix should become muscle and not a different kind of tissue.

Some of the primary improvements in Sgt. Strang’s leg might have been from the mechanical connection between the extant muscle and matrix; but as the matrix has deteriorated in his leg, he has showed continued improvement.

This is a good example of how people, agriculture and technology can, and must, live in harmony and prosper together.

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

January 3, 2013

Fluid Management Systems

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www.fluidmanagementsystem.com     subodh@fluidmanagementsystem.com

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