There is a dwindling number of honeybees that researchers have noticed. These insects are an integral part of nature, and for the honey they produce, people have benefited from it as well.
So important are these bees that a biotech company announced this week that the USDA (Department of Agriculture) granted them a conditional license. This was for their honeybee vaccine.
At this point in time, even the animals need all the help they can get. This said vaccine aims to boost the bee’s immune system so that they are able to fight against American Foulbrood disease. This disease is a bacteria-based condition that is known to attack colonies. The culprit behind this is what they call the Paenibacillus larvae.
Honeybees are vital to our food supplies. However, because these honeybees are plagued by American Foulbrood, they have been dwindling and dying faster than expected. In fact, the numbers in which they die has been worrying. There had been no safe or sustainable antidote in the past. That is, until now. Previously, the only treatment method that they had for this extremely contagious disease was incinerating the bees and the infected hives with the a specific type of equipment.
The antidote was developed by Dalan Animal Health. They made a solution that contained an inactive version of Paenibacillus larvae bacteria that is non-GMO and more importantly, one that can be used in organic agriculture.
After the antidote was is consumed by the worker bees, the vaccine then becomes incorporated into the royal jelly, something that they give to the queen bee during her feeding. As soon as she is able to ingest it, fragments of the vaccine find their way into her ovaries.
One the larvae is hatched, they have already been exposed to the vaccine and are therefore immune to the disease.
“Our vaccine is a breakthrough in protecting honeybees, impacting food production on a global scale,” Dr. Annette Kleiser, CEO of Dalan Animal Health, said in a statement.
“This is an exciting step forward for beekeepers, as we rely on antibiotic treatment that has limited effectiveness and requires lots of time and energy to apply to our hives,” Trevor Tauzer, owner of Tauzer Apiaries and board member of the California Beekeepers Association, said as he talked about how he can benefit from the antidote.
“If we can prevent an infection in our hives, we can avoid costly treatments and focus our energy on other important elements of keeping our bees healthy,” he added.
A research was made and the results showed just how efficient the drug was. Hence, the USDA issued them the conditional license for its use for a good two years. Dalan, which is headquartered in Athens, Georgia, at the University of Georgia’s Innovation Hub, is set to give out the vaccine on a limited basis. Their target market will be the commercial beekeepers.
They are expected to have the vaccine later this year and it will be set for distribution to the vital bee farms in the U.S. The vaccine itself will be manufactured in Iowa.
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