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Pig Journal Volume: 69
Publication date: May 2013

General Section

Immunological innovations in the future of pig health management
A.W. Tucker

Abstract
Optimum pig health underpins the ongoing global supply of pig meat. As demand increases, mature and emerging livestock supply systems must focus on meeting this requirement in ways that are safe, economically sustainable and welfare-conscious. Excellent pig health, which lies at the core of these aims, is dictated by the equilibrium between microbes, the environment, and host susceptibility. This lecture will focus broadly on recent innovations across veterinary and human medical research that could have tangible benefits in reducing pig susceptibility to health compromise. Immunological innovations with respect to pig health will be considered in three categories: manipulation of the innate immune system, vaccine-related research, and optimised immunity based on understanding of infection dynamics.

Better understanding of the innate immune system is an area of great promise for long-term improvements to pig health. Aspects to be covered will include host genetics, nutrition, the role of immuno-dysregulatory viruses, and specific areas of emergent research including the role of pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs).

Vaccine induced immunity is a cornerstone of higher health production, especially on low health status units. What opportunities are there on the horizon for products yielding broader more effective immunity? How can pig responses to vaccination be optimised?

Finally, a better understanding of natural infection dynamics for important pig pathogens within and across pig populations is needed. This holds the promise of better integrating field-derived immunity with vaccine-induced immunity, and the exploitation of synergies between them.

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