Key learnings on Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome

posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 in News

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is still an issue in many U.S. swine herds, but it’s not nearly as devastating to producers as it was 10 years ago. The industry has learned how to control and manage the wild virus, thanks in part to the PRRS Research Awards Program. The program, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) has funded more than 30 projects for a total of more than $900,000.

According to Michelle Sprague, DVM, president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), results from the BIVI-funded research studies have contributed significantly to the industry’s understanding of the disease and how to more effectively manage it.

“After more than 20 years in North America, PRRS continues to be a major disease challenge for swine veterinarians and producers, and during this time we have learned much about the virus, how it is transmitted and how to better control it,” Sprague says. “Collaborative applied field research will provide the keys to effectively control and eradicate PRRS, helping swine producers raise healthier, more profitable pigs.”

Research projects are selected by the independent PRRS Research Review Board, which focuses on projects that examine practical methods of controlling, managing, and possibly eradicating the PRRS virus. Daryl Olsen, DVM, serves on the review board.

Dr. Olsen is managing partner at AMVC Management Services in Audubon, Iowa, and he says he loves being on the board.

“It’s fun to look at different projects and review them, but the biggest key that I’ve looked at is the ability to take the information from the research proposals and directly apply it on our producers’ farms and really have a huge economic impact,” he points out.

Dr. Olsen is in a pig-dense area, and as such, the research funded by the award program has been pivotal to increasing veterinarians’ knowledge on how to control the virus.

“When we get into a pig-dense area like Iowa…it’s very important that we get the most economic impact for the strategies we use moving forward,” he says.

Many of the research proposals have allowed him to do just that.

“I look at the practical information we’ve taken from these studies and it has had a positive impact on how we look at this disease. The strategies we put into play are certainly helping us to live with and control this disease,” he says. In terms of boar studs, Dr. Olsen notes, “The research projects have been instrumental in learning how to protect and manage boar studs and it is work that I’m not sure would have been done without the research projects.”

Once each of the three $25,000 year-long research projects are completed and submitted for peer review, the PRRS Research Review Board (PRRB) conducts a second evaluation.

Upon acceptance for publication of his or her findings, the first place award recipient receives an additional U.S. $5,000; second place, $3,000; and third place, $1,000. Watch this short video interview with Dr. Olsen to learn more. In addition, complete details on the awards can be found at Research award recipients for 2014 will be announced at the AASV annual meeting in Orlando in March.

Proposals are awarded based on established criteria including potential economic impact to the swine industry, originality and scientific quality and probability of success in completing the year-long study.

Story Credit to: JoAnn Alumbaugh and Pork Network