Dec. 4, 1998 A vaccine invented by a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis has received federal approval for use in controlling Salmonella bacteria in poultry.
Megan Health Inc., a St. Louis based vaccine discovery company, has been granted a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) license for a vaccine that controls Salmonella contamination of poultry products.
The new vaccine, Megan™Vac 1, is applied to baby chicks via spray in the hatchery. The vaccine stimulates immunity in the chickens, preventing Salmonella infection during the growing period which may result in contamination and subsequent food borne infection of humans.
In recently completed trials on US commercial broiler farms which included more than a million pounds of chicken, Megan™Vac 1 eliminated Salmonella on dressed chicken. Ten percent of the non-vaccinated chickens in these trials were contaminated.
The US broiler chicken industry has improved their processed chicken contamination rate greatly in the past few years moving from 50% positive in the 1980's to 20% positive two years ago to 10% this past year (according to tests reported by USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service). " Our new vaccine is a remarkable tool which will help broiler producers reach their goal of 0 % contamination." says David Zacek, President of Megan Health Animal Health Division.
The new vaccine, more than 4.5 years in development, is the invention of Roy Curtiss III, Ph.D., professor of biology at Washington University and founder of Megan Health, Inc.
"This vaccine is designed to live only long enough to stimulate an immune response in chickens and then is eliminated by the chickens' immune system to assure food safety at processing. It is very specific for Salmonella control, very low cost at less than one cent per bird and is easily applied using traditional techniques now used by US broiler chicken production companies." according to Sandra Kelly, MS, Biologicals Development Manager for Megan.
Megan Health, Inc. is a privately held vaccine discovery company established in 1993 with headquarters in St. Louis Missouri. "We are very excited about this first food safety vaccine. It is our second USDA license, (the first was a vaccine for swine, Argus™SC marketed by Bayer Corporation since March of 1998) and is the first product in a new market sector for both animals and humans, food safety vaccines. We have a full pipeline and are pleased to have been the first to apply this new patented technology to help solve a current human health problem." says Brian Clevinger, Ph.D., President and CEO for Megan Health, Inc.
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The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University In St. Louis.
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