Brucellosis is an important zoonotic disease (which spreads from animals to humans) worldwide caused by the bacteria of various species of Brucella organisms. It causes abortions and reproduction disorders in cattle, buffaloes, goats and sheep and can affect pigs, dogs, camels and several other animal species as well as humans. This disease causes production losses worth about 3,50,85,25,000 US Dollars annually in India alone. Affected animals become carriers for the rest of their lives and spread infection to other animals. Antibiotic treatment of Brucellosis is very expensive, prolonged and ineffective. The available antibiotics as well as the S-19 vaccine currently being used in India have not been able to control the disease. Slaughter of affected cattle, adopted by several countries to control Brucellosis, is prohibited in India.
Dr. Hari Mohan Saxena, Professor of Immunology and his team in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana have developed a novel immunotherapy for bovine Brucellosis which has been shown to cure Brucellosis in adult cows in three months with a single injection of the new therapeutic vaccine. The findings of the study have been published in the prestigious international journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases and can have profound implications for Brucellosis control in developing countries, particularly in India where slaughter of cattle is not permitted. The breakthrough is the brainchild of Prof. H M Saxena meticulously executed by Ms. Sugandha Raj, a MVSc student under his supervision.
A cocktail of vaccine strain organisms S19 and RB51 of Brucella abortus bacteria killed by a bacteriophage (virus that kills bacteria) was used as therapeutic vaccine. Brucellosis affected cows were injected 2 millilitres of this lysate under the skin once. The treated cows were monitored fortnightly over a period of three months employing a Brucella specific molecular biomarker. The therapy eliminated live virulent Brucella abortus organisms from the cows as indicated by progressive reduction and ultimately complete absence of the biomarker in the blood by 90th day after the treatment.
The efficacy of antibacterial therapies is determined worldwide by sacrificing animals and estimating the bacterial load in organs without and after treatment. Dr. Saxena has identified for the first time in the world a new biomarker (RNA in blood) for accurate non – invasive monitoring of the effect of antibacterial therapy in bacterial diseases and can revolutionize development of new antibiotics by abolishing sacrifice of animals for determining the efficacy of new therapies. Non-invasive monitoring of the efficacy of antibacterial therapy in man and animals through plasma RNA can save money and resources and spare animal lives enormously. The principle behind the biomarker based non-invasive monitoring, a spin-off innovation of the therapeutic vaccine research, has vast potential and can be applied for evaluation of different kinds of new antimicrobial treatments in animals and humans accurately and cost-effectively, drastically reducing merciless killing of laboratory animals currently in vogue. There is a dire need of such new alternative therapies for infectious diseases in view of the alarming rise in microbial resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents worldwide. Furthermore, the prevention of losses due to infectious diseases could significantly increase the income of the livestock owners and farmers.
Dr. Dr. Hari Mohan Saxena:
Dr. Hari Mohan Saxena has >29 years of experience, including >23 years & 9 months ofexperience in teaching and research and administrative experience of 8½ years. He is the Director of Resident Instruction cum Dean, Postgraduate Studies at Bihar Animal Sciences University, Patna. He was the Head of the Department of Veterinary Microbiology at GADVASU for 4 yrs. and has served as Counsellor (S&T) (Diplomat in the rank of Director) in the Embassy of India, Moscow, Russia (concurrently accredited to Ukraine and Belarus also) for nearly 4 years. He has been a Professor of Immunology for 18 yrs 8 months at GADVASU (and earlier PAU), Ludhiana. He is a Senior Expert of the Asia Pacific CEO Association Worldwide and a Member of the Expert Panel on Vaccines of the European Society for Translational Medicine.
He has served as a Member of the Steering Committee of the Science Advisory Board, USA for 4years (75,000 members around the world). He has served as the President of the Indian Society for Veterinary Immunology & Biotechnology (ISVIB). He is a Member of Immunology Advisory Board of WebMedCentral (UK) and a Member of Immunology Editorial Board of WebMedCentral Plus, UK. He is a Review Editor of Frontiers in Immunology (official journalof International Union of Immunological Societies; Frontiers group is a strategic partner of Nature Publishing Group), an Editor of the Journal of Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology Research (Academic Journals, New York, USA) andan Editorial Consultant of the Indian Journal of Veterinary Research. He has served as a Member of the Academic Counciland a Member of the Postgraduate Committee of GADVASU and Member of Board of Studies of the Veterinary College, Ludhiana. He has served as the Member Secretary of Institutional Animal Ethics Committee of GADVASU for 5 years and as the University Liaison Officer, GADVASU for 4 ½ years.