The old way may be the best way to treating a new problem.

The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has ravaged China’s hog farms and currently has invaded 16 U.S. states. It has nearly a 100 percent fatality rate for piglets and presents severe health risks for older pigs too.

While scientists and specialists are searching for a vaccine, Alex Huang, a mechanical and electrical engineer from Stanford, may have stumbled across a solution.

“I’d never stepped on a farm in my life,” admitted Huang. “My friends are all techies.”

Huang’s friend Gin Wu supplemented Huang’s inexperience with his own knowledge from working as a veterinarian at a medical device business. Together, the two formed LiveLeaf with the simple goal of improving porcine health.

LiveLeaf produces special water purifiers made from ingredients including pomegranate and green tea, both foods long known for their powerful antioxidants. Huang and Wu had no idea their product might help solve the most notorious disease in the pork industry today.

Chinese farmers testing LiveLeaf filters broke the good news to Huang and Wu. “Hey, you know it works,” they said, “But did you know that it stops diarrhea really well?”

The farmers reported that pigs that drank from the purified water didn’t have any stomach problems. Some farmers even started giving this water to their kids.

The creators of LiveLeaf didn’t expect their product to have such results. This year the company marketed its first product, Grazix, a hog feed supplement. Grazix stops diarrhea within a few hours, keeping infected hogs alive long enough for their bodies to develop immunity to the virus.

LiveLeaf only has one distributor currently, but the company soon hopes to sign on two more.

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