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on January 14, 2014

Using designer egg immunoglobulins against PEDV

Recent research found that egg-derived antibodies may be part of the solution to the PEDV virus disease spreading through the United States.

Since May 2013, the U.S. pig industry has been battling Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) outbreaks. PEDV, a highly contagious disease, has already spread to at least 14 states. 

PEDV is a member of the Coronaviridae family that also includes other swine viruses such as Transmissible Gastroenteritis (TGE), Porcine Respiratory Coronavirus (PRCV), and Porcine Haemagglutinating Encephalomyelitis Virus (HEV). 

After an incubation time of 22 to 36 hours, severe symptoms as diarrhea and vomiting can occur and infect up to 100 percent of a pig herd. Suckling piglets younger than seven days are the most sensitive group with mortality rates of 80 - 100 percent. The transmission is faecal-oral, no vector or reservoir has been implicated in its spread (1). The consequences of this disease are losses of animals, decreased performance and increased costs for medical treatment and biosecurity measures.

Antibiotics are not effective against viruses; preventive measures like vaccination and biosecurity in addition to a well-organized colostrum management are generally applied. In case of disease, there is the possibility of supportive therapy against dehydration by administering electrolyte solutions.

Designer egg IgY

Over numerous generations, farmers have fed eggs to weak or ill calves and piglets. Why? In 1893, Veterinarian, Felix Klemperer (2), provided the explanation on how this treatment supports an animal's immune system. He discovered that eggs from hens vaccinated with tetanus bacilli helped mice survive tetanus. This meant that hens naturally produce antibodies against this disease, and they transfer those into the egg.

As traditionally kept farm…

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