Scientists and industry partners are field testing a vaccine against porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) in Saskatchewan, as well as in Manitoba where it is being used to help protect piglets from a recent PEDV outbreak.

The vaccine was developed at the University of Saskatchewan Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac).

“Our new facility, InterVac, provided us with the containment infrastructure to develop a vaccine and demonstrate it protected up to 100 per cent of the piglets,” said Volker Gerdts, PhD, VIDO-InterVac’s research director, in a press release.


Animal health industry partnership

The successful vaccine results triggered the interest of several animal health companies including Huvepharma, which has partnered with VIDO-InterVac to develop the technology for commercial production in North America.

“Our goal is to have the vaccine available for commercial use as soon as possible to help stop producer losses,” said Dr. Boris Gavrilov, senior scientist for biologics development at Huvepharma.

PEDV background

PEDV hit the United States in 2013 and spread to Canada in 2014. It was first discovered in Europe, and has become increasingly problematic in Asian countries.

Occurring only in pigs, PEDV can kill up to 100 per cent of infected piglets. PEDV is a coronavirus, a virus group which includes important emerging human diseases such as SARS and MERS.