Clue to PRRSv transmission found

Published on: Jul 23, 2013

A research team from the University of Missouri and Kansas State University has been working to find a cure for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv), and their latest study disproved one way the virus is thought to spread.

"Initially, scientists believed that PRRSv bound to a specific molecule, known as CD169, and infected white blood cells in the lungs," said Randall Prather, distinguished professor of reproductive biotechnology in the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources. "In our study, we've found that this is probably not how the virus is infecting pigs."

In the study, Prather genetically modified a litter of pigs so they would not generate the CD169 molecule; therefore, the virus would have nothing to bind to and would be killed by the pigs' natural immune systems. However, after an initial test, the genetically modified pigs did become infected with PRRSv, negating the initial theory.

"While we didn't find what we were looking for, we did uncover important information about the infection," Prather said. "This information will help us narrow our search as we continue to fight this virus. We'll keep searching for answers until we determine how to stop PRRSv."