Meat & Livestock News

North Carolina State College Advances in PEDv Research with USDA Grant

Bearded laboratory scientist or doctor using laptop computer and microscope for researching information at laboratory. Smiling caucasian university student studying medicine. High quality photo

In a strategic move to deepen our understanding of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv), North Carolina State’s College of Veterinary Medicine has initiated a comprehensive research project. The study is fuelled by a grant of nearly $500,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Research Aims and Techniques

The crux of the research lies in investigating whether vehicles that are not adequately disinfected could serve as vectors for PEDv transmission.

The virus is notably lethal for piglets. The study will scrutinise vehicles involved in the transportation of pigs, feed, and other related materials to and from hog facilities in eastern North Carolina.

To substantiate their research, scientists plan to collect around 3,500 samples from these vehicles at wash stations. The study will employ a range of disinfectants to ascertain the most effective one for eradicating the PEDv microbe.

The Study’s Relevance

PEDv is a significant concern, especially for piglets, with mortality rates oscillating between 50% and 100%.

The virus, although less impactful on adult hogs, has demonstrated its ability to spread swiftly, as seen in a 2017 outbreak that affected nearly 70 sites in Manitoba, Canada. In the U.S., preventive measures like vaccination programmes for piglets are already in place.

Broader Impact

The two-year study has a dual focus: to develop effective protocols for PEDv prevention and to provide insights into the management of other foreign animal diseases.

This includes the highly contagious African Swine Fever (ASF), which has not yet reached the U.S. and lacks both a known treatment and vaccine.

Dr. Juliana Bonin Ferreira, the lead investigator, stated, “If we can validate the efficacy of these decontamination protocols for PEDv, it’s likely they will be effective for ASF as well.”

By spearheading this research, North Carolina State is positioning itself as a key player in efforts to mitigate the risks associated with PEDv and other severe animal diseases, thereby enhancing the resilience of the livestock industry.