Animal health company Zoetis has been granted a conditional license by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a vaccine to help fight Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) in pigs
The two-dose inactivated vaccine, licensed for use in healthy pregnant female pigs (sows and gilts), is designed to help them develop antibodies which can be transmitted to their newborn piglets. The vaccine is expected to be available in September.
The vaccine is given as a 2 ml intramuscular injection to sows or gilts prior to farrowing. Two doses given three weeks apart are recommended, with the second dose given two weeks pre-farrowing. Previously vaccinated sows should receive a single dose given two weeks before farrowing. On average, female pigs farrow twice each year.
In order to receive the conditional license, the vaccine was shown to be safe in a field safety study, and a reasonable expectation of efficacy was demonstrated. Zoetis is working to complete the studies necessary to obtain full licensure in the US.
PEDv was first diagnosed in the United States in April 2013. Since then, it has spread to 30 states and is responsible for more than seven million deaths in piglets.
Zoetis continues work with Iowa State University on a second vaccine approach to help control PEDv. The results from these vaccine research programs could have applicability in countries outside the US where PEDv has been identified and is threatening swine herds and the livelihoods of farmers who raise and care for them.
In the meantime, ongoing efforts to slow the spread of PEDv continue to focus on improving animal husbandry and hygiene measures. From the farm to transport trucks, stepped-up efforts include additional sanitation, better control of access points and review of employee protocols. All of these steps have been demonstrated to help mitigate the risk of the virus entering a farm.