PRRS research could save the pork industry millions

Researchers are hard at work on ways to combat a major hog disease, and their research could save the pork industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

PRRS causes reproductive failure, stunted growth, and even death in pigs. USDA is infecting freshly weaned pigs and comparing them to non-infected pigs, in an effort to identify PRRS-resistant genes. Researchers have discovered an infected mother will not always pass the disease on to her piglets.

According to USDA’s Dr. Joan Lunney, “Even within the same litter, you can have a pig that has a mother who’s positive and they don’t have the virus and the pig next to it in the litter can die from the virus. So, how did the fetuses resist the viral infection? And that’s work that’s ongoing in my lab now.”

Researchers have found one gene that can be edited to possibly produce a pig that is immune to PRRS, but it will be years before they know if immunity will continue through generations. PRRS costs the industry more than $650 million dollars a year.


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