An American startup has said it is ready to launch the world’s first vaccine for bees after receiving a multi-million dollar boost.
Dalan Animal Health – has vowed to fight a fatal bacterial disease of honey bees – announced having received USD 5.5 million (GBP 4.96 million) overall from funding associations.
The animal immunology pioneer targets American foulbrood (AFB) which is, according to the Georgia-based firm, “among the most devastating of bacterial infections” affecting bees.
AFB is a fatal bacterial disease of honey-bee brood caused by a spore-forming bacterium that has drastically reduced the revenue of beekeepers globally over the years.
AFB spores are very resistant to freezing and high temperatures. Severe outbreaks can lead to the death of the majority of a brood. The whole colony is seriously weakened by such incidents and can eventually die.
Since it is not a stress-related sickness, AFB – which exists almost anywhere in the world – can also infect robust colonies.
Dalan Animal Health will use the financial backing to carry out further research and launch its oral anti-AFB vaccine.
The substance – which has no harmful additives – is given to the colonies’ queen bees who protect the larvae before they hatch.
Dalan Animal Health says on its website: “Dalan Animal Health understands how immunity in honeybees works. This has allowed us to develop an industry-first method to impart protection and improve resilience to brood disease.
“Our mission is to provide safe, innovative, and sustainable solutions for beekeepers to protect their businesses. We develop vaccines and biotherapeutics to improve the health and productivity of honeybee colonies.”
CEO Annette Kleiser pointed out: “Honeybees are integral to ecosystems because they are pollinators. We know bees are dying. It’s a problem that we throw our hands up and say we cannot fix, but we are not going to address climate change or pesticide use overnight. Vaccines we can do right away.”