At World Pork Expo, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) discussed the advancements made in combating PRRSV since the release of Ingelvac PRRS® MLV vaccine. Over the past 20 years, BIVI has been a leader in funding both collaborative and original research in the area of PRRS. Significant advancements have been made in the areas of biosecurity, disease transmission, immune management, and disease monitoring.
Dr. Edgar Diaz, Sr. Associate Director, Tech Marketing at BIVI, states that “BIVI has continued to support PRRS research since the release of the first MLV PRRS vaccine in 1994. Our goal is to go beyond the bottle by creating a systematic process for PRRS control.”
Developing field applicable information relevant to PRRS control has been a long term goal of BIVI. “Generating tools and processes, that when applied in a systematic approach, can mitigate the consequences of PRRSV has been the primary focus of our collaborative research activities” says Dr. Reid Philips, DVM, PRRS Technical Manager at BIVI. Results of collaborative research activities, such as the annual BIVI Advancement in PRRS Research awards, has dramatically improved knowledge in the key areas of epidemiology, transmission, biosecurity, and immune management in both breeding herds and growing pigs. He goes on to say that “We now know that key objectives of a successful PRRS control program include: limiting the source of new PRRSV isolates, preventing PRRSV introduction, reducing area spread of the virus and implementing protocols to mitigate the consequences of infection when it occurs.”
BIVI’s commitment to research regarding PRRS control strategies is evident; however another key area of the company’s collaborative and original research has been focused to the development of tools that allow producers to measure the success of these strategies. “Providing producers with the tools to track the effectiveness of PRRS control strategies by measuring health and performance, transmission of the virus, and tracking PRRS outbreaks in their system is important,” says Dr. Philips.
“By constantly evaluating the impact of interventions, we have learned that maintaining uniform immunity within a population is important,” notes Dr. Philips. BIVI is currently recommending a two pronged approach of breeding herd mass vaccination and growing pig vaccination. “Vaccine can be used to achieve stability in breeding herds while minimizing the time required to reach pre-break production levels,” he says. “Additionally, growing pig vaccination impacts pig health and consequently performance, along with the shedding of wild-type virus.”
The importance of communication, coordination, and collaboration, both within and between systems, has also been shown to be vital to the success of a PRRS control programs. Due to this, BIVI continues to be strong supporters of the Area Regional Control (ARC) concept and has partnered with University of California-Davis to further develop a tool, Bioportal, to help track the genetic diversity of the virus. Additionally, BIVI continues to have a PRRSolutions team who are specifically dedicated to help producers and veterinarians control PRRS.
Dr. Diaz says BIVI is committed to continuing to help advance knowledge in controlling PRRS disease. “We have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in controlling PRRS over the past 20 years, but there is still work to be done.”