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Developing Vaccine for Strep Suis Proves Challenging
Dr. Matheus Costa - University of Saskatchewan

Farmscape for April 4, 2019

Although several groups are working on the development of vaccines to protect pigs from Strep suis, the task is proving to be particularly challenging.
Strep suis is a Gram-positive bacteria that typically colonizes the throat, respiratory tract and gut of the pig and is common throughout the pork sector world wide.
Dr. Matheus Costa, an Adjunct Professor with the University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an Assistant Professor with the University of Minnesota, says there are many different groups world wide working on vaccines for Strep suis but developing a vaccine for this infection is very challenging.

Clip-Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
Strep suis or Streptococcus suis actually has over 100 genes associated with virulence factors.
What this means is that basically Streptococcus suis is a solider and it has over 100 guns to use when invading the pig's body.
Every time we take one gun down Streptococcus suis will pull a different one and use it.
It is very challenging to develop a vaccine against a bacteria that has so many guns to use.
There are many groups exploring different vaccine candidates.
There are different genes being identified almost on a yearly basis that are associated with disease but the fact they have over 100 virulence genes makes it very challenging for us to identify the one that will cross protect against all different Streptococcus suis.
This is another important aspect of Streptococcus suis.
There is not just one kind of Streptococcus suis.
There are over 35 different kinds of Streptococcus suis and each one of them will express those 100 different genes in a different way so the combinations are so many.
That's probably the best explanation why some autogenous vaccines don't work so well.

- Dr. Costa says a particular vaccine approach that may be on the horizon isn't really clear.
He says, in the next five to ten years there may be there but we're not there yet.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


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