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2014 BIVI PRRS Research Awards Announced at AASV Conference

The threat from emerging, and current diseases such as PRRS, reminds producers and veterinarians of the critical role ongoing research plays in helping find solutions.

For more than a decade, the Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI), Advancement in PRRS Research Awards has continued to provide practical approaches to disease management. Recently at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) Conference in Dallas, BIVI announced the 2014 recipients of its annual PRRS research awards.

"The recent emergence of PED virus reminds us of the importance of ongoing research in helping the swine industry deal with the constant threat of disease," says incoming AASV President Michelle Sprague, DVM, with Audubon Manning Veterinary Clinic (AMVC) in Audubon, Iowa. "Longstanding research programs like the BIVI PRRS research awards do provide the practical, effective results that veterinarians can utilize to better diagnose, prevent and control PRRS. As a swine veterinarian, I see firsthand on swine farms the benefits these research programs provide."

This year, BIVI awarded $75,000 to support three separate studies by independent swine disease researchers and practitioners in their investigations of novel ways to diagnose, control and eliminate PRRS. The selected PRRS studies focus on three important areas of disease research: the effect of maternal PRRS immunity in pigs vaccinated with PRRS MLV vaccine and subsequently challenged with a heterologous PRRSV; and helping veterinarians and producers differentiate new PRRS virus incursions from resident strains; and improving oral fluid diagnostics.

The BIVI-sponsored PRRS research awards have been critical in the development of less costly, more reliable diagnostic testing and sampling processes, as well as identifying more effective biosecurity, risk assessment and vaccination strategies. All total, the company has contributed $912,500 through the PRRS research awards to fund 37 separate research projects.

From the many PRRS research proposals submitted for the 2014 awards consideration, the three following recipients were selected, and their research proposals were recognized at the March AASV Conference in Dallas, Texas:

Brad Leuwerke

, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, Minn. – Effect of maternal PRRS immunity on the response of pigs to vaccination with a homologous modified-live vaccine and subsequent response to heterologous PRRS virus challenge.

Andres Perez

, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn. – Differentiating new PRRS virus incursions from resident virus strains. Jeff Zimmerman, DVM, PhD, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa – Cleaning up oral fluid samples for improved diagnostics.

The three research proposals were selected based on established criteria that include potential for economic impact to the swine industry; originality and scientific quality; and probability of success in completing the study.

Sprague, who also served on this year’s PRRS Research Review Board noted that the results from the years of the BIVI-funded PRRS research studies have had a significant and positive impact on swine farms across North America.

"It is through this initiative that we have discovered many management practices that can give producers practical applications to implement to not only impact their own operations but also those of their neighbors."

In addition to Sprague, members of the PRRS Research Review Board included: Bill Mengeling, DVM, Ph.D., Iowa State University/NADC (retired), Ames, Iowa; Montse Torremorell, DVM, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn.; Tim Loula, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, Minn.; Luc Dufresne, DVM, Seaboard Foods, Shawnee Mission, Kan.; and Daryl Olsen, DVM, Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic, Audubon, Iowa.

Proposal entries for the 2015 Advancement in PRRS Research Awards are due January 1, 2015. For more information, visit

About Boehringer Ingelheim

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 140 affiliates and more than 46,000 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.


Social responsibility is a central element of Boehringer Ingelheim's culture. Involvement in social projects, caring for employees and their families, and providing equal opportunities for all employees form the foundation of the global operations. Mutual cooperation and respect, as well as environmental protection and sustainability, are intrinsic factors in all of Boehringer Ingelheim’s endeavors.In 2012, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about 14.7 billion euro. R&D expenditure in the business area Prescription Medicines corresponds to 22.5% of its net sales.

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