South Dakota State University scientists have received a $460,000 USDA grant to develop a vaccine to protect weaned pigs from the E. coli pathogen.

David Francis, of South Dakota State’s veterinary science department, says the research will explore two different technologies. “One is a modified or changed E. coli that is still living, and will be used as a vaccine. It would be delivered orally to the animals,” he notes.

The other, and of greatest interest, it a killed vaccine. "It would be delivered through the skin in the absence of an injection," notes Francis. "The exciting thing about this is that there would be no risk of injection site injury or infection for the animal. It’s a brand new technology and has some exciting potential.”

South Dakota State researchers ultimately would like to start a Center for Infectious Disease Research and Vaccinology to expand its work in animal health.

Eventhough SDSU’s research in is aimed at protecting animals from disease, Francis points out that many research topics, such as finding better ways to deliver vaccines, have applications to human medicine.