Scientists from Cornell announced this week the successful manufacture of the first vaccine that prevents metritis. Metritis most commonly affects cattle and develops after a cow gives birth. The bacteria takes advantage of the open vagina and cervix to settle in the uterus.This disease causes fever, pain, inflammation, loss of appetite, depression and can affect reproduction. In the US, metritis affects around 25% of the dairy cow population, and can cost up to $400 per case in treatment. This research was initially published in PLOS One earlier this year. The new vaccine prevents the bacteria that cause metritis from taking hold and also reduces the symptoms if it does take hold.
“Our lab has been developing a vaccine for years now based on our research of this disease,” said Bicalho. “We created multivalent vaccines, complex cocktails with several components we’ve identified as important to causing metritis.”
Bicalho and his lab researchers tested five combinations of various ingredients and delivered three subcutaneously via a shot and two intravaginally. All three subcutaneous vaccines were effective, significantly reducing incidence of disease by up to 83 percent. Cows that were vaccinated with the subcutaneous vaccines had lower incidence of postpartum fever and puerperal metritis, shorter disease periods and improved reproductive performance compared to those that did not receive the vaccines.
“The powerful protection these vaccines produced surprised us. We expected some protective effect but nothing as strong as what we found,” said Bicalho. “An effective vaccine against uterine diseases will have a significant positive impact on the dairy industry, limiting the use of antibiotics, and decreasing economic losses due to these disorders. Our next step is to simplify the complex vaccines we created by identifying which components are the most important and removing the rest.”
If you are interested in the research and production of Veterinary Vaccines, then keep an eye out for the World Veterinary Vaccine Conference next year!