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Vaccines as alternatives to antibiotics for food producing animals. Part 2: new approaches and potential solutions

Vaccines and other alternative products are central to the future success of animal agriculture because they can help minimize the need for antibiotics by preventing and controlling infectious diseases in animal populations. To assess scientific advancements related to alternatives to antibiotics and provide actionable strategies to support their development, the United States Department of Agriculture, with support from the World Organisation for Animal Health, organized the second International Symposium on Alternatives to Antibiotics. It focused on six key areas: vaccines; microbial-derived products; non-nutritive phytochemicals; immune-related products; chemicals, enzymes, and innovative drugs; and regulatory pathways to enable the development and licensure of alternatives to antibiotics. This article, the second part in a two-part series, highlights new approaches and potential solutions for the development of vaccines as alternatives to antibiotics in food producing animals; opportunities, challenges and needs for the development of such vaccines are discussed in the first part of this series. As discussed in part 1 of this manuscript, many current vaccines fall short of ideal vaccines in one or more respects. Promising breakthroughs to overcome these limitations include new biotechnology techniques, new oral vaccine approaches, novel adjuvants, new delivery strategies based on bacterial spores, and live recombinant vectors; they also include new vaccination strategies in-ovo, and strategies that simultaneously protect against multiple pathogens. However, translating this research into commercial vaccines that effectively reduce the need for antibiotics will require close collaboration among stakeholders, for instance through public–private partnerships. Targeted research and development investments and concerted efforts by all affected are needed to realize the potential of vaccines to improve animal health, safeguard agricultural productivity, and reduce antibiotic consumption and resulting resistance risks.

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