University of Minnesota team receives $3 million grant to study PRRS
The project aims to help farmers understand how PRRSV evolves, changes, moves and persists. It also helps producers explore ways of out-maneuvering PRRSV.
Source: University of Minnesota
via National Hog Farmer - Sep 09, 2019
University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine researchers and collaborators at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute have received nearly $3 million in grant money to investigate how porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus evolves and spreads. The research will help scientists and producers anticipate a herd’s susceptibility to different strains of PRRSV, and customize mitigation efforts accordingly. The data generated could be used to inform future vaccine designs.
The grant is funded jointly by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the United Kingdom Government’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and will cover the next four years of research.
Kim VanderWaal, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine at the CVM, is the principal investigator on the project. “Studying PRRSV’s evolution will help us better understand and hopefully control PRRSV, but it will also help us understand the evolution and drivers of genetic diversity in viruses in humans and other animals,” VanderWaal says.
PRRSV costs the U.S. swine industry more than $560 million each year. First found in herds in Indiana, North Carolina, Iowa and Minnesota in the late 1980s, the virus rapidly spreads within barns and between farms. It has since remained one of the industry’s biggest game changers. Since its emergence in the United States, scientists have worked to reduce its impact.
While a host may build immunity to a certain strain of PRRSV after infection, that strain — as with any RNA virus — can counter-evolve to survive in that host and spread. As viruses often compete for hosts—some are better than others at evading the host’s immunity, depending on what that host is used to. This process is called “multistrain dynamics,” and has been investigated extensively in human medicine, but has rarely been explored in animals — until now. This project aims to help farmers understand how PRRSV evolves, changes, moves and persists. It also helps producers explore ways of out-maneuvering PRRSV.
As with many RNA viruses, PRRSV...