Iowa firm releases vaccines for hog virus

Jan 4, 2014
by WLJ

The Iowa-based Harrisvaccines shipped several hundred thousand doses of its new vaccine to fight Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) at the end of December. The vaccine may help curb the spread of PEDv in the U.S. hog herd and prevent the losses that it has caused since it was first discovered in this country in April, 2013.

“As soon as we heard of the confirmed cases we started developing the vaccine,” Joel Harris, Harrisvaccines’ head of sales and marketing, told Reuters. “The vaccine has been used in multiple states, including Iowa and North Carolina, but it is too early to know how effective the vaccine is.”

Asia and Europe, which have longer experience with PEDv, have vaccines to treat for the virus, but those vaccines have not been cleared for use in the U.S. due to concerns over effectiveness. Harrisvaccines is seeking conditional USDA approval for the vaccine.

“The hope is to have this conditional USDA approval as soon as possible and then it would be able to be more widely distributed. We are looking to get approved by early to mid-2014,” Harris said. USDA can grant conditional approval of vaccines in cases of emergency and limited market distribution. At the moment, the Harrisvaccines vaccine is only available through veterinarian prescription.

As mentioned, PEDv was first discovered in the U.S. in April of 2013. Since then over 1,645 U.S. premises have reported PEDv cases, according to USDA data. The virus is not harmful to humans nor does it impact meat quality or safety. In live animals, infections result in diarrhea, vomiting, and subsequent dehydration. It is most dangerous to very young piglets that can quickly succumb to the dehydration and die.

The epidemic has had concerning impacts on the hog market, though many market analysts have questioned the USDA’s reporting of hog and pork production which do not appear to reflect the damage the virus has had. — WLJ