Poultry Lab Not Chicken About Developing Vaccine for Cattle

Poultry Lab Not Chicken About Developing Vaccine for Cattle
Billy Hargis

Poultry science isn’t just for chickens anymore.

The Poultry Science Lab for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, run by Billy Hargis, has already developed vaccines to battle several diseases in poultry. Now, Hargis says, a pharmaceutical company recently contacted him about producing a vaccine to combat mastitis in cattle. Mastitis is a potentially fatal udder disease in dairy cows.

“Chickens don’t lactate,” Hargis said. “But the concept is the same.”

He said a pharmaceutical company that has licensed the poultry vaccines met with him and representatives from several countries recently to discuss the possibility of developing the mastitis vaccine.

Hargis declined to name the company and said research could take a couple of years to complete.

“They commissioned us to take this platform and make a vaccine for cattle,” Hargis said. “There’s a weird twist, a research laboratory for poultry health is going to be producing an entirely new concept.”

Hargis and his lab have already patented several probiotics that are marketed under the brand names FloraMax and Sporulin by Pacific Vet Group of Fayetteville, and other pharmaceutical companies have licensed vaccines against diseases such as salmonella and influenza that are in the regulatory phase before going to market.