Are You Prepared for PEDv? Zoetis Ready to Bring Vaccine to Europe

EUROPE - Showing its commitment to supporting European pig farmers and veterinarians, Zoetis is making its Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) virus vaccine available to the European market.
calendar icon 14 August 2015
clock icon 5 minute read

There is currently an element of fear surrounding PEDv. Farmers know the devastating consequences that outbreaks of the virus can have on their businesses but also on the country’s pork market.

“At Zoetis, the surveillance of emerging infectious diseases is taken very seriously thanks to a network of veterinary specialists present in the field in more than 20 EU countries,” said Richard Beckwith, Zoetis Swine Europe Group Director.

“With the increasing concern of new PEDv strains circulating in the EU, Zoetis has taken immediate action to monitor this emerging disease risk and explore the utility of its vaccine already conditionally-approved in the US for the same disease.”

A highly contagious virus, past experiences have shown that strict biosecurity and being prepared for preventing the virus through vaccines is key to preventing its rapid spread.

A Growing Threat

PEDv has already had, and is still having, a huge and devastating impact on many farms in the US, Asia and Canada.

In the US alone, PED has wiped out more than 7 million piglets in just over two years.

Europe has also had a number of cases reported in Ukraine, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Romania and the Baltic States, with the outbreaks ranging from mild to severe.

Priding itself on being committed to protecting the livelihoods of European farmers, Zoetis is therefore making sure that the tools are made available for farmers who want to protect their pigs from this devastating disease.

Success in the US

In response to the outbreaks of PEDv in the US, Zoetis was pro-active in bringing a PED vaccine to the US market in 2014.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted the company a conditional license for the product after a field test proved the vaccine’s safety.

Zoetis’s vaccine showed promising results in the US with a 46 per cent reduction in the number of piglets born from vaccinated sows having digestive clinical signs and a 95 per cent reduction in the number of animals showing evidence of loss of general conditions when compared to non-vaccinated controls.

As a result, body weight losses were seen in 85 per cent fewer animals (together with a prevention of mortality) in the vaccinated group when compared to the unvaccinated controls.

Following the success of the vaccine, Zoetis is now looking to help pig farmers in Europe by bringing its vaccine to the European market.

"Rapidly emerging infectious diseases such as PEDv not only threaten animal health but also the livelihoods of farmers. Bringing this vaccine to market quickly exemplifies our commitment to supporting our veterinarians and swine producers with high quality vaccines to rapidly respond to and help control the evolving and complex threat of emerging infectious disease," said Catherine Knupp, executive vice president and president, Zoetis Research and Development.

"We at Zoetis are proud to provide our customers with a vaccine to help battle this devastating disease."

PEDv Vaccine – The Low Down

Zoetis’s PEDv vaccine is a two-dose inactivated vaccine that is administered via intramuscular (IM) injection to healthy sows and gilts.

The vaccine works by creating antibodies against the disease in the healthy pigs which are then transferred to the newborn piglets.

A 2 mL dose is administered five weeks pre-farrowing and then a second dose is given two weeks pre-farrowing, booster doses to follow two weeks before each subsequent farrowing.

Proving the effectiveness of the vaccine in helping to reduce the impact of a PEDv outbreak in Europe, Zoetis carried out a challenge study in Spain.

The study showed that the killed virus vaccine was able to deliver partial cross protection to piglets born from sows that had been vaccinated when challenged with a heterologous PEDv Spanish Isolate.

Piglets from non-vaccinated sows showed moderate to severe diarrhoea in all litters affecting 90.5 per cent of the piglets. Weight loss was also observed in 57.1 per cent of the control piglets and 23.8 per cent of them reached the end-point of dehydration and had to be euthanized.

In contrast, in vaccinated sows, not all the litters were affected by diarrhoea and 42 per cent of the piglets were only mildly affected.

Weight loss was observed in only 6.5 per cent and none of the piglets had to be euthanized.

Bringing the Vaccine to Europe

Remaining one step ahead in the fight against this deadly disease, Zoetis can make its vaccine available to any farmers who are concerned or worried about the virus’s spread.

Each European country will be able to apply for a licence to make the vaccine available to its farmers and turn around on receiving the vaccine is likely to be as quick as seven days.

Zoetis is therefore urging farmers and veterinarians to speak to their local authorities to help incorporate the vaccine into their, or the country’s, biosecurity plan.

Being prepared for the disease through strict biosecurity plans has proven to be the best way to stop the virus from entering farms and to prevent its spread, as has been demonstrated in Canada.

For more information about the vaccine, farmers and veterinarians should contact their local authority and usual Zoetis representative.

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