Alternatives to antibiotics in animal health: The example of colistin

The Lille University of Science and Technology (Lille 1) is coordinating a collaborative study funded by the French National Research Agency entitled Sincolistin (2015–2018) with the aim of developing new methods and innovative concepts for reducing the amount of colistin used in pig farms.

Colistin is an antibiotic administered in more than 90% of farms in the form of medicated feed to treat and stop certain digestive infections developed in weaned piglets. Colistin is also used in human health, not only to treat infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria but also for certain diseases such as cystic fibrosis. It is considered a last-resort antibiotic for managing the increasingly worrying multidrug-resistant bacteria. Its use in animal health must be reduced to maintain its long-term effectiveness in humans.

The Sincolistin study aims to develop innovative strategies for administering colistin combined with new antimicrobials to achieve a synergy that will enable reduction of doses of colistin administered in livestock.

The study is led by Professor Djamel Drider of the regional food and biotechnologies research lab at the Charles Viollette research institute. In addition to Lille 1, the consortium comprises a network of academic laboratories and a local private company (ANSES in Ploufragan, IEMN in Lille, the University of Auvergne, the University of Poitiers and the Lesaffre-Phileo).