Hank Harris, president and CEO of Harrisvaccines, used a genome sequence he found on the internet to create a PEDv vaccine called iPED+.
Since porcine epidemic diarrhea virus first entered the U.S. herd in 2013, roughly 8 million pigs have been lost in 30 states. Now, a new vaccine could change that.
It’s a virus that’s left many pork producers not only heartbroken, but hungry for answers to how and why it’s done so much damage in only one year. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) first entered the U.S. herd in April of 2013. Since then, some estimates point to 8 million pigs that have been lost in 30 states.
"Pigs take it hard, and people take it hard," says Erin Ehinger, a pork producer in Holland, Mich., who knows the impact of PEDv first-hand.
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"We had some sows that started to have some diarrhea," she says. "We see a little bit of that here and there, but it continued to get worse and worse."
That was back in February. She says they immediately sent in diagnostics. Within a couple days, reality set in: PEDv had entered their herd.
"By that time, the farrowing had broke and we had sick babies everywhere," says Ehinger. "It was awful."
She says when PEDv broke, it broke hard and fast, impacting all six of their swine farms all together.
"That first farm broke, then we broke almost every other farm right after that, primarily over the weekend," she explains. "So, we've had all of our sows have been exposed to PED and it's been a long battle."
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A battle one Iowa scientist is fighting, too. Hank Harris is president and CEO of Harrisvaccines, the company that's created a vaccine to fight the virus. The way he develops his vaccines, however, is what's so unique.