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MSD Animal Health, Utrecht University Partner up to Discover PED Vaccine

07 February 2014

MSD Animal Health - Pigs

US & NETHERLANDS - MSD Animal Health (known as Merck Animal Health in the USA and Canada) announced that it has entered into a research agreement with Utrecht University to test leads towards a vaccine for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. Research has already begun under the agreement, which will last 12 months.

"We are pleased to partner with Utrecht University on our search for a PEDV vaccine," said Dr KJ Varma, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, MSD Animal Health. "In addition to being one of the world’s most prestigious institutions, Utrecht University has decades of experience researching viruses of veterinary significance, and has several leads for the development of a PEDV vaccine."

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to mortality as high as 100 per cent in young pigs and reduced growth in older pigs.1 The virus was first identified in Europe in 1971, became endemic in Asia in 1982, and spread to the United States in 2013.1,2

"Vaccine development on PEDV has been hampered by the difficulty of growing the virus in cell culture and, until very recently, by the lack of tools for its genetic manipulation," said Peter Rottier, Ph.D., Professor in Virology, Utrecht University. "We share MSD Animal Health’s commitment to finding a vaccine and believe that this partnership will help us accelerate the discovery process."

Until a vaccine is available, Dr Rottier said that strict sanitation practices are the first and primary line of defense.


1 American Association of Swine Veterinarians. AASV Quick Facts: Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea. AASVQF052313.pdf. Accessed November 11.2013.

2 Merck Veterinary Manual. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea. _epidemic_diarrhea.html. Accessed November 11, 2013.

Further Reading

Find out more information on PED by clicking here.


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