Livestock News for August 6

Disinfectants effective against ASF, study shows

Two disinfectants containing a patented technology known as Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide were found to be effective against the African swine fever virus, the technology’s manufacturer announced. The Intervention and Prevail disinfectants, manufactured by Virox, “achieved complete inactivation” of the ASF virus with a five-minute contact time, the study, conducted by Virox, showed. The test, carried out at the Madrid-based European Reference Laboratory for African Swine Fever, used standard test methods that recreated “real world ‘on-farm’ conditions,” according to the announcement. “We were confident both Intervention and Prevail would be effective against ASF, but having direct confirmation gives us and our customers reassurance,” said Jose A. Ramirez, Ph.D., Virox’s executive vice president and lead science advisor.

Elanco acquires vaccine maker Prevtec to boost swine portfolio

Elanco Animal Health announced it has acquired Montreal-based Prevtec Microbia, a biotechnology startup that specializes in vaccines for bacterial diseases in food animals. The all-cash acquisition costs Elanco $59.9 million, with a contingent of up to about $16.4 million to former Prevtec shareholders in the first quarter of 2022 if certain sales goals are met in 2021, Feedstuffs reports. Among other things, Prevtec is the maker of the Coliprotec line of vaccine products meant to protect pigs against post-weaning diarrhea and E. coli. Elanco was the exclusive distributor of Coliprotec in Canada and Europe. This acquisition brings Prevtec’s research and development programs to Elanco’s pipeline, according to the announcement. It will allow Elanco to expand its swine portfolio to more key locations. It’s one more step in a series of moves by Elanco to build success in the swine industry.

Zoetis to open research lab at Colorado State

Zoetis will establish a new research lab at Colorado State University as part of an agreement to research livestock immunotherapies. The 3,000-square-foot Zoetis Incubator Research Lab is planned to open next year, with company and university scientists working alongside each other. The lab will initially focus on cattle biotherapeutics, which could help advance research for pigs and poultry, according to the announcement. Zoetis officials plan to hire up to 20 livestock scientists, immunologists and cell biologists beginning this fall.

China takes steps to protect economy in light of African swine fever

Authorities in China announced new measures to increase the supply of live pigs and stabilize pork prices in light of the ongoing African swine fever crisis, CNN reports. Among other things, the rules request that city governments help subsidize pig farms. The rules also require banks to ensure pig farmers and pork processing companies have access to appropriate financial resources. Meanwhile, China approved a new ASF diagnostic test from Thermo Fisher Scientific, according to Feedstuffs. The polymerase chain reaction-based test can reportedly help detect the virus earlier than other methods.

Hemp industry projected to boom, federal agencies worry about lack of data

U.S. cannabis production is expected to see annual gains of more than 23% in nominal terms through 2023, according to a new report from Freedonia Focus Reports. More than 90% of those gains are expected to come from hemp, thanks to the 2018 farm bill. That said, federal officials are worried about a lack of clear data on hemp and hemp-derived products, Feedstuffs reports. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is beginning a hemp research program, but officials said they’re concerned farmers will start production before they have a market.

‘Flexitarian’ isn’t a curse to the meat industry, report shows

Plant-based proteins will not bring down traditional meat, a new report from Nielsen shows. The report explains how the “flexitarian” lifestyle, in which consumers eat both meat- and plant-based proteins, not only protects meat’s standing, but could even boost it. According to the report, 98% of meat alternative buyers also purchase meat, more than the average meat buyer: $486 versus $478 per year. The vast majority of U.S. households, 95%, are omnivores. While consumer trends indicate a rise in plant-based proteins, “meat is resilient — due in part to its relative affordability,” Nielsen’s research found.