SUMMIT, NEW JERSEY, February 6, 2014 – Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada) today announced it has entered into a research agreement with Utrecht University to test leads towards a vaccine for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. Research has already begun under the agreement, which will last 12 months.
“We are pleased to partner with Utrecht University on our search for a PEDV vaccine,” said Dr. KJ Varma, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Merck Animal Health. “In addition to being one of the world’s most prestigious institutions, Utrecht University has decades of experience researching viruses of veterinary significance, and has several leads for the development of a PEDV vaccine.”
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to mortality as high as 100 percent in young pigs and reduced growth in older pigs.1 The virus was first identified in Europe in 1971, became endemic in Asia in 1982, and spread to the United States in 2013.1,2
“Vaccine development on PEDV has been hampered by the difficulty of growing the virus in cell culture and, until very recently, by the lack of tools for its genetic manipulation,” said Peter Rottier, Ph.D., Professor in Virology, Utrecht University. “We share Merck Animal Health’s commitment to finding a vaccine and believe that this partnership will help us accelerate the discovery process.”
Until a vaccine is available, Dr. Rottier says that strict sanitation practices are the first and primary line of defense.
About Merck Animal Health
Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health in the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit www.merck-animal-health.com.
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- American Association of Swine Veterinarians. AASV Quick Facts: Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea. http://www.aasv.org/aasv%20website/Resources/Diseases/PED/PED–AASVQF052313.pdf. Accessed November 11.2013.
- Merck Veterinary Manual. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea. http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/digestive_system/intestinal_diseases_in_pigs/porcine_epidemic_diarrhea.html. Accessed November 11, 2013.