Mere months after porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) was first confirmed in the United States swine population, University of Minnesota researchers have developed a PEDV rapid diagnostic test.
The first-of-its-kind tests provide a way for producers to quickly and cost-effectively identify the presence of U.S. PEDV strains.
Characterized by acute diarrhea and vomiting, a PEDV outbreak wipes out an average of 50 per cent of young swine at newly affected farms. PEDV poses no risk to other animal or human health and no risk to food safety. Should PEDV become widespread, however, the pork industry could suffer significant losses. On July 23, the virus has been confirmed in 16 U.S. states and there was no known vaccine or treatment.
With the new test, samples from animals suspected of carrying PEDV can be submitted to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) for testing. Test results are known within 24 hours, allowing for swine producers to take necessary precautions to prevent further spread. Genetic material is also extracted from the samples, which can be tested and tracked to monitor PEDV spread.
Samples including swine fecal swabs, saliva, serum, feed, and fecal, intestinal and lung tissues can be tested via a multiplex assay which identifies the presence of not just PEDV, but also transmissible gastroenteritis (TEG) – a virus that has existed among U.S. swine populations for some time. Pairing the tests improves affordability to agriculture by bringing the cost of the test to less than $50 (US).
In addition the U of M team has completed sequencing the DNA of one strain of U.S. PEDV. The sequence has been deposited into the GenBank database in the National Center for Biotechnology Information to help amplify the research potential of new PEDV genome understanding.
Development of a cost-effective bioassay to determine whether PEDV is being spread via non-genetic materials including feedstuffs is ongoing at the University. Investigations aim to both identify the presence of PEDV and determine whether it is alive and active, thus posing a risk. The U of M, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture and National Pork Producers Association, also continues to investigate how PEDV first entered the U.S. and further ways to best limit its spread.
(Collaborators in this project include the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, its Swine Disease Eradication Center, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the University of Minnesota BioMedical Genomics Center. Funding was provided by the Minnesota Rapid Agricultural Response Fund, the National Pork Board and Zoetis Animal Health.)