Battling the Hog Health Alphabet: New Tools Emerge to Fight PRRS and ASF

Jul 24, 2023

The hog industry faces a formidable challenge in combating a range of diseases, from PRRS to African swine fever (ASF). PRRS stands as the biggest culprit, inflicting billions of dollars in losses for hog producers each year. However, a glimmer of hope emerges as new technologies and research offer potential solutions to fortify the industry's defenses. 

One promising development comes from the Pig Improvement Company, which is pioneering a PRRS-resistant pig using gene-editing technology. While awaiting FDA clearance for this innovation, other smaller companies are also exploring similar avenues. 

Modified live vaccines have proven effective in recent years, though the ever-evolving strains of the PRRS virus present an ongoing challenge for researchers and producers. Balancing the risks associated with live viruses, producers must remain vigilant in their approach. 

Amidst the fight against disease, a primary focus lies on developing a vaccine for the virulent African swine fever. Although not reported in the United States, outbreaks have hit countries in close geographic proximity, prompting heightened concern.  

Researchers like Daniel Rock from the University of Illinois are making progress by identifying critical proteins within the complex virus. This work paves the way for a potential vaccine to be deployed in response to an outbreak, curtailing further spread. 

Ensuring safety and efficacy remains paramount in the vaccine's development, with research efforts spanning both national and international borders. The industry's commitment to biosecurity has improved over time, aiding in the mitigation of disease spread. Nonetheless, the need for continued advancements and preparedness remains, as hog producers must remain vigilant against potential threats. 

Despite facing numerous swine diseases, the farming industry remains strong and determined. They are investing in research and innovation to protect the health of animals and maintain economic stability. There is hope for better disease management and stronger defenses in the future. As they continue to fight against these challenges, collaboration and determination will play a crucial role in creating a healthier future for the industry. 

Source : wisconsinagconnection
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