Advancing swine health through research and innovation.

Zoetis veterinary experts and researchers are here to help you make informed decisions that contribute to wellness in pigs. To that end, we understand the ongoing threat that porcine circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) poses to pigs, even with widespread vaccination efforts.

How do you fight a rapidly evolving threat?

PCV2 has the highest mutation rate of a single stranded virus1 with multiple known genotypes, the following being the most common in U.S. swine herds: PCV2a, PCV2b, PCV2d, and, occasionally, PCV2e, with prevalence shifting to PCV2d.2

Two developments in PCV2 research suggest possible solutions:

  • Use of a bivalent vs. monovalent vaccine
  • Increased immunity through breeding herd vaccination

How do you broaden a
vaccine’s coverage?

By nature, monovalent vaccines contain one porcine circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) genotype. However, due to the incredible evolutionary rate of PCV2, broader antigenic coverage against multiple genotypes may be needed to protect swine populations from this fast-evolving threat.

In a recent challenge study, Dr. Meggan Bandrick, Director, Global Biologics Research for Zoetis, observed the efficacy of experimental monovalent and bivalent vaccines in protecting against multiple PCV2 genotypes, including PCV2a and PCV2b, and found that pigs that received the bivalent vaccine demonstrated reduced viremia and fecal shedding. This supporting evidence suggests that a bivalent vaccine may provide the best opportunity to broaden coverage to circulating strains of PCV2.3

Why vaccinate against PCV2 in a breeding herd?

U.S. Sow Vaccination Trends4
  • image

    One third of vets vaccinate sows 1x year with 1 dose

    Of those one third, 23% of vets vaccinate sows with 2 doses

  • image

    20% of vets expect to increase sow vaccination

  • image

    25% of vets expect to increase gilt vaccination

How are piglets infected with PCV2?
  • Vertical transmission → in utero/colostrum/sow contact
  • Horizontal transmission → pig-to-pig in shared environment
  • Environmental contamination → residual infectious virus
  • New introduction → brought in via staff/fomites
PCV2 Transmission Rate in Unvaccinated vs. Vaccinated Sows

The “Breeding-Herd Vaccination: Reaching New Highs for PCV2 Protection in Swine,” explains that the early epidemiology work would suggest that many, or even all, sows infected early in life remain carriers capable of producing viremic piglets.

The traditional view of PCV2 epidemiology is that, in the absence of active immunization, the virus will spread through a group of growing pigs once the population-level protection from maternal immunity declines to a point that will permit it. While environmental contamination and external introduction are potential starting points, classical, post-weaning outbreaks are assumed to arise from an already infected subpopulation, with the initial source of virus in the latter being the sow herd.

  • image

    PCV2 transmitted to several piglets

  • image

    PCV2 transmitted to fewer piglets

    • Unvaccinated sow
    • Vaccinated sow
    • Infected piglets
    • Non-infected piglets
3 Benefits of Breeding Herd Vaccination

  • image

    Consistenly produce negative or very low-incidence piglet populations from breeding farms.

  • image

    Protect pigs through reduction in PCV2 exposure from the sow herd.

  • image

    Combined sow and piglet protection from PCV2.

Provide the broadest antigenic protection for your entire herd.

Porcine circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) is one of the fastest-evolving viruses threatening pigs5 with the potential for major economic impacts across the swine industry.6 Until bivalent Fostera® Gold PCV and Fostera® Gold PCV MH, the available monovalent vaccines only contained a single PCV2 genotype meaning you could have gaps in your coverage against rapidly evolving strains.7-10

  • Broadest antigenic coverage. Fostera® Gold PCV and Fostera Gold® PCV MH are the first and only PCV2 bivalent vaccines containing two PCV2 genotypes — PCV2a and PCV2b — to provide the broadest antigenic coverage of PCV available.11-14
  • Breeding herd immunity. An industry first, Fostera® Gold PCV and Fostera Gold PCV MH are the only PCV2 vaccines with USDA safety approval for use in pregnant sows and gilts.*
  • Longest-lasting PCV protection. Fostera® Gold PCV and Fostera Gold PCV MH provide the longest-lasting PCV protection available, with a 23-week duration of immunity (DOI). This length of coverage can help reduce the risk of late-finishing breaks.15-19
  • A safe, smooth vaccine. Fostera® Gold PCV and Fostera Gold PCV MH were developed with the unique and smooth MetaStim® adjuvant that stimulates both cell-mediated and antibody-based immune responses with minimal post-vaccination reactions.20
Learn more about our PCV2 vaccines.

*As of June 2023. Always check the vaccine’s label for specific indications.


  1. Firth C, Charleston MA, Duffy S, Shapiro B, Holmes EC. Insights into the evolutionary history of an emerging livestock pathogen: porcine circovirus 2. J Virol. 2009;83(24):12813-12821.
  2. Xiao C-T, Harmon KM, Halbur PG, Opriessnig T. PCV2d-2 is the predominant type of PCV2 DNA in pig samples collected in the U.S. during 2014-2016. Vet Microbiol. 2016;197:72-77.
  3. Bandrick, M, et al., Vet Res, 2022
  4. Zoetis market research, America’s PCV/MG Vaccine Tracker Wave 1; July 2020
  5. Galina, L. Breeding-Herd Vaccination: Reaching New Highs for PCV2 Protection in Swine, 2022
  6. Gillespie J, Opriessnig T, Meng XJ, Pelzer K, Buchener-Maxwell V. Porcine circovirus Type 2 and porcine circovirus-associated disease. J Vet Intern Med. 2009;23(6):1151-1163.
  7. Gagnon CA, Tremblay D, Tijssen P, Venne M-H, Houde A, Elahi SM. The emergence of porcine circovirus 2b genotype (PCV-2b) in swine in Canada. Can Vet J. 2007;48(8):811-819.
  8. Lefebvre DJ, Costers S, Van Doorsselaere J, Misinzo G, Delputte PL, Nauwynck HJ. Antigenic differences among porcine circovirus type 2 strains, as demonstrated by the use of monoclonal antibodies. J Gen Virol. 2008;89(Pt 1):177-187.
  9. Saha D, Lefebvre DJ, Ooms K, et al. Single amino acid mutations in the capsid switch the neutralization phenotype of porcine circovirus 2. J Gen Virol. 2012;93(Pt 7):1548-1555.
  10. Cheung AK, Lager KM, Kohutyuk OI, et al. Detection of two porcine circovirus type 2 genotypic groups in United States swine herds. Arch Virol. 2007;152(5):1035-1044.
  11. Data on file, Study Report No. B822R-US-14-325, Zoetis Inc.
  12. Data on file, Study Report No. B822R-US-16-582, Zoetis Inc.
  13. Data on file, Study Report No. B825R-US-16-667, Zoetis Inc.
  14. Data on file, Study Report No. B822R-US-15-557, Zoetis Inc.
  15. Data on file, Study Report No. B824R-US-15-451, Zoetis Inc.
  16. Data on file, Study Report No. B824R-US-13-118, Zoetis Inc.
  17. Data on file, Study Report No. B822R-US-15-544, Zoetis Inc.
  18. Data on file, Study Report No. B822R-US-16-622, Zoetis Inc.
  19. Data on file, Study Report No. B824R-US-15-505, Zoetis Inc.
  20. Data on file, Study Report No. B921R-US-16-609, Zoetis Inc.

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