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Kansas State project focuses on swine viral disease control

Study aims to gain understanding of protein disulfide isomerase enzymes as intervention strategy against PRRS and swine influenza.

Kansas State University announced that it has received a $475,000 grant to help determine methods to control two of the most important viral agents in pigs: porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus and swine influenza A virus (SIAV).

Yunjeong Kim, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine, is the principal investigator on the grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food & Agriculture.

Kansas State said the project will focus on gaining a better understanding of protein disulfide isomerases enzymes as a potential target for developing intervention strategies against PRRS or SIAV.

"SIAV and PRRS are two of the most important viral agents in pigs," Kim said. "Controlling these viruses is crucial for the swine production industry and sustained food supply, as well as for mitigating risks of potential pandemic influenza outbreaks in humans."

Kim said there is an unmet need for safe and effective prevention and control measures.

"Identification and manipulation of host factors critical for virus infection may provide the foundation for devising novel intervention strategies," Kim said. "Our group recently found that protein disulfide isomerases, which are involved in proper protein folding, play a key role for the replication of SIAV and PRRS in cells, by conducting experiments, including gene knockdown or CRISPR-based gene editing technologies in cells."

The grant is titled "Investigation of Genetic Factors for Swine Influenza A Virus & Porcine Reproductive & Respiratory Syndrome Virus."

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