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Pork CRC funded APP vaccine breakthrough a world first

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A breakthrough vaccine delivery system will make vaccination against the endemic pig disease Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP) easier, cheaper and more effective, according to leading South Australian veterinarian and piggery manager, Dr Peter McKenzie.  

The APP-Alive vaccine and vaccination procedure, a world first at the commercial level, was developed with funding from Pork CRC and is expected to reduce industry costs by $3-6 million a year.  

Dr McKenzie ran a recent Pork CRC workshop in South Australia on the vaccine and was heavily involved in trialling it.  

“APP-Alive has proven highly effective for herds with APP as it’s easier to administer than current injectable vaccines and will reduce the use and cost of antibiotics throughout the industry,” Dr McKenzie said.  

“It has also great global potential and research continues to refine the product for the international market.”  

The Australian Pork Farms Group, Victoria Department of Primary Industries and QAF Meat Industries have been key partners in the project.  

The technology has been adopted by two commercial participants of the Pork CRC through a manufacturing license agreement with ACE Laboratories, Bendigo, Victoria.  

Other end users can now access APP- Alive through ACE laboratories.

Dr McKenzie explained that the new vaccine is administered nasally, rather than injected and requires only one dose.

“If you have APP in your herd you should contact your veterinarian, as he or she probably attended the Pork CRC organised APP vaccine adoption forum,” he said.

Because the vaccine is a live product, it requires careful handling and administration and is only available on prescription under a special use permit through veterinarians. This will ensure producers can be instructed how to use it safely and effectively.

Dr McKenzie believes producers using APP-Alive can make real inroads against APP.

“The vaccine is special because it can be given to baby pigs before weaning in a single dose and a single handling, saving a lot of time vaccinating young pigs,” he said. 

“The pigs are given a small challenge dose with live bacteria, while they’re protected by maternally derived colostral immunity.

“The vaccine is different because it doesn't create disease, but an immunological response when given to the piglets of sows immune to the disease. Its use in piglets of sows that have not been exposed to the disease is contraindicated,” Dr McKenzie said.

Vaccination against APP was previously by injection at six weeks, with a follow-up injection about four weeks later.

"Now, with the Pork CRC developed vaccine, you can vaccinate via a single dose, knowing you're providing your growing herd significant protection against APP," Dr McKenzie concluded.

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