Objectives

In view of the continuing global concerns with antibiotic resistance, there is a pressing need to have a scientific forum to assess the scientific advancements made since the 1st International Symposium on Alternatives to Antibiotics held in 2012. The objectives of this 2nd International Symposium are to highlight promising research results and novel technologies that provide alternatives to antibiotics for use in animal health and production, assess challenges associated with their commercialization and use, and provide actionable strategies to support their development. The symposium will focus on five product categories that could reduce the use of medically important antibiotics in animal health and production: 1) vaccines; 2) microbial-derived products; 3) phytochemicals; 4) immune-derived products; and 5) chemicals.

Issues

Concerns over antibiotic resistance are driving policies to restrict the use of medically important antibiotics in agriculture worldwide. However, there is a need to augment agricultural production to feed an increasing world population, which is wholly dependent on the availability of interventions to prevent and control animal and plant diseases. Importantly, the success of the global agricultural enterprise in preventing and controlling diseases will directly impact food security, food safety, and global health.

This symposium is not intended to be a venue to eliminate the use of antibiotics in animals as there is a specific need for antibiotics to treat diseases. Nor is this a venue to advocate strategies that use new single-acting antibiotics as they too are predicted to eventually fail against documented pathogen adaptability and resistant strain development. Rather, the preferred topics will be strategies for the prevention and treatment of diseases, as well as enhancement of production that do not result in the creation of selection pressure favoring the development of antimicrobial resistance.

The global increase in antibiotic resistance among bacterial pathogens is believed to be due to the over- and misuse of antibiotics in human and animal health and agriculture. One of the key public health concerns linked to agriculture is the potential development of antibiotic resistant strains within food animal production facilities and among food-borne bacteria that could seriously compromise therapeutic options and medical interventions. Thus, alternatives to the continued reliance on antibiotics in agricultural production need to be developed. There is also increasing scientific evidence that implicates certain antibiotics with disrupting the normal flora of the gut, yielding negative consequence on the immune system, disease resistance and health. As we move into the 21st Century and the demands for food products increase to meet the nutritional needs of a growing world population, alternative strategies to improve animal health and production is a global issue and a critical component of efforts to alleviate poverty and world hunger.

Goals:

The symposium will focus on the latest scientific breakthroughs and technologies that provide new options and alternative strategies for preventing and treating diseases of animals and reduce the use of medically important antibiotics in agriculture. Although some of these new technologies provide the means for implementing a One Health approach and have direct applications as medical interventions for human health, the focus of the symposium is on animal health and production and food safety. The following six areas will be explored in detail through scientific presentations and expert panel discussions:

  1. Vaccines that could reduce the use of medically important antibiotics
  2. Microbial-derived products, such as probiotics and bacteriophage gene products
  3. Non-nutritive phytochemicals, including prebiotics
  4. Immune-related products, such as antibodies, microbial peptides and cytokines
  5. Chemicals, including enzymes
  6. Regulatory pathways to enable the licensure of alternatives to antibiotics

Preferred Topics: The major issue to be addressed is novel biocontrol approaches for reducing bacterial pathogens (and where applicable viral and parasitic pathogens) in agriculture production that employ strategies specifically geared to reduce the use of medically important antibiotics and eliminate drug resistance development.

Other preferred topics will relate to developing novel methodology for evaluating bacterial growth inhibition from both in vitro testing and in vivo animal feeding trials to determine practical intervention approaches applicable to food-animal production, and the discovery and development of reliable biomarkers associated with animal well-being. We will also incorporate emerging topics related to gut health, such as chararacterisation of the microbiome and its interactions with the immune system with potential clinical applications. This symposium will also highlight the emerging field and interest in treatments that demonstrate both antimicrobial and immune-enhancing capabilities.

Why Attend?

Scientists, regulators, and industry representatives who have a stake in animal health, agriculture and public health, need access to the latest scientific information and technologies, and want to interact with the current leaders in the field.

Organized by USDA with the support of the OIE