Scientists in Canada have developed a prototype vaccine that may become a new tool in the ongoing battle against porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), a devastating disease that has killed millions of pigs and led to hundreds of millions of dollars in lost income since 2013.
With industry and government support, a team from the University of Saskatchewan developed the vaccine in less than a year and is now testing it in piglets in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The researchers have partnered with Huvepharma, which will continue development for North American commercialization.
With success, the vaccine could become another tool to protect against a virus that has killed 8 million pigs since 2013 and resulted in $400 million in lost income for the swine industry. The USDA said last fall PEDv had made its way to the U.S. in 2013 through tote bags used in international trade.
After focusing on farm cleaning methods to combat the virus, the USDA in January said it would also look into improving diagnostics and testing methods.
Vaccines against PEDv do exist from Zoetis ($ZTS) and Harrisvaccines, but experts have raised concern that the disease may be mutating. So research groups all over the world are looking for new tools to combat the virus.
Last November, researchers said that heating up a common swine feed during processing could quell the spread of PEDv. That group was also examining whether feed additive or feed scheduling changes could help.