South Dakota State University research is working on an updated PRRS vaccine to help swine producers around the globe.
“We are trying to make the next generation of the PRRS vaccine,” research assistant professor Ying Fang said. “It will be a genetically engineered PRSSV vaccine.”
The disease has caused huge economic losses to the swine industry worldwide since with recent costs in the US alone estimated to be at least $560 million annually
Much of SDSU’s work with PRRS is through the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Vaccinology, formed in 2004 as one of the governor’s 2010 research centers.
Fang, a molecular biologist who led a US team of researchers to investigate a PRRS outbreak in China in December 2007, said SDSU is at the forefront of research to update the vaccine. One focus of SDSU research is on how the PRRS virus sabotages the animal’s defence systems.
“We want to identify which genes are responsible for shutting down the host’s protective immunity,” she said, adding that the information will help build a better vaccine against PRRS.
One technique the research team is using employs “reverse genetics.” That is, the team has cloned the virus and is using that clone to manipulate the viral genomes.
PRRS continues to the most economically significant disease of swine worldwide, thus indicating the need for vaccines will continue, Fang said.