USDA Licenses PEDV Vaccine

OMAHA (DTN) -- Harrisvaccines announced Monday that USDA had approved a conditional license of the company's vaccine for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDV.

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service stated the Harrisvaccines product is the first licensed vaccine for PEDV. It will be used to vaccinate sows to build antibodies and transmit those antibodies through their milk to newborn piglets, USDA stated.

"Preliminary studies have been promising, and they've shown sufficient data that we think the vaccine will be effective," USDA stated.

Harrisvaccines, which is based in Ames, Iowa, will be working toward a full license of the vaccine. In the meantime, there are no restrictions on its use.

PEDV has hit more than 4,700 hog operations in 30 states and killed an estimated 7 million pigs. It is highly contagious among hogs and can quickly sweep through a sow barn. Sows will get sick for a few days before building immunity to the virus. However, PEDV can have a near-100% mortality rate for baby pigs. The pigs become weak and dehydrated and are unable to recover.

The disease does not affect the safety of the food supply, but it has helped cause pork prices to increase because of the impacts on supply.

Earlier this month, USDA issued an order requiring hog producers to report any new outbreaks of the disease to USDA and develop improved biosecurity measures on the farm. USDA announced $26.2 million to help producers with biosecurity and vaccine studies as well.

Harrisvaccines has sold nearly 2 million doses of its vaccine through prescriptions. The conditional license will make it easier for the company to market the vaccine to producers and veterinarians.

"The impact of this disease has been devastating," said Dr. Hank Harris, founder and CEO of Harrisvaccines. "At Harrisvaccines, we recognized the great threat that PEDV posed to the industry immediately, and that is why we are able to introduce the first USDA conditionally licensed PEDV vaccine on the market."

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