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Ames, Iowa small business battles major PED epidemic in piglets

Staff Writer |
In 2014, the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus was responsible for the death of eight million piglets in the United States.

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Developing a vaccine took months—sometimes years—making it hard to rescue the declining swine community.

Harrisvaccines, in Ames, Iowa, used its patented SirraVax technology to analyze PED gene sequences to commercialize a vaccine in just four months.

Harrisvaccines became the first company in the country to gain conditional licensure from USDA.

The vaccine, called iPED, is administered to sows right before they give birth to a litter, protecting the piglets.

To produce their customized vaccines, Harrisvaccines collects saliva, blood, or tissue samples from infected animals and sends them to state or private diagnostic labs to extract gene sequences.

The gene-sequencing codes provide the blueprint for the specific pathogen strain on each farm.

The sequences are added to an information library to rapidly develop herd-specific vaccines.

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