Previous ‘mild’ strain of PEDV confers protection against ‘severe’ strain

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) infected approximately 50% of the U.S. swine breeding herds from July 2013 to July 2014 as estimated by the Swine Health Monitoring Project (SHMP). In the absence of effective vaccines or standard control protocols, there is an urgent need for evidence of cross-protective immune countermeasures.

Researchers with the SHMP evaluated the response of 3-day-old piglets born to sows exposed seven months earlier to a mild strain of PEDV to challenge with a virulent PEDV isolate. Piglet survival to one week of age was 100% compared to 67% in piglets born to sows not previously exposed, and morbidity was 43% compared to 100%, respectively.

At necropsy at 7 days of age, the PEDV cycle threshold (Ct) value was 23.6 (range 16.6-30.6) in intestinal contents, compared to 17.2 (range 15.9-18.5) (p<0.06) in litters from sows with no previous exposure to PEDV. The findings indicated that durable lactogenic immunity was present in sows previously exposed to a mild strain of PEDV, and this immunity induced cross-protection to representative virulent PEDV. Thus, a naturally attenuated form of PEDV provided significant passive immune protection for seven months against piglet challenge with virulent PEDV.

Researchers involved in this project are Goede D, Murtaugh MP, Nerem J, Yeske P, Rossow K, and Morrison R. 

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