USDA researchers are working to find pig vaccines to help them resist deadly and costly diseases according to its latest video blog. Even though modern pork producers are trying to raise pigs in a bio-secure environment viruses and bacteria still find a way to infect healthy herds, according to Dr. Joan Lunney, Research Scientist, USDA ARS.

"Viruses and bacteria can come in on trucks, on your shoes and they can come in with a new shipment of pigs that come from a growing out facility," comments Dr. Lunney. "And so we always have to worry about when that virus comes in; what do we do about it.

The USDA is looking to make pigs immune to diseases leading to healthier animals that can get to market sooner.

"To be able to design more effective vaccines, to identify pigs that are healthier, that respond to stress appropriately, that have a better well-being," says Dr. Lunney. "To able to know what their immune response is, and to ask whether genetically some of them may be better responders to vaccines, we call them vaccine-ready pigs.

"For pig breeders and producers, they well know that once you have a disease, many times you have production losses, and with PRRS we know there's a $642 million production loss per year in the United States alone," she says.