The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the world’s first vaccine for honeybees to protect the endangered insects from a deadly disease caused by spore-forming bacteria, Paenibacillus larva.
The disease, known as American Foulbrood, was only contained by burning the colony and hive.
The vaccine is developed with killed whole-cell Paenibacillus larva bacteria that is mixed with food fed to the queen and passed on to her offspring, which will then be immune to the disease.
The treatment has been approved under a conditional license, which is issued to meet an emergency condition.
And for the case of honeybees, these creatures are a critical component of agriculture – one-third of the global food supply relies on pollination.