Submitted to: National Hog Farmer
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: December 10, 2004
Publication Date: December 15, 2004
Citation: Lunney, J.K. 2004. Immune tools measure pig disease, vaccine responses. National Hog Farmer, pp. 13-14.
This article is a short summary for National Hog Farmer of our recent research on pig responses to infectious diseases and vaccinations. Pigs exposed to infectious organisms express immunity but the intensity of this response is different depending on the organism. Our differential gene expression studies highlight the immune genes that have been "turned on" or not during an immune response. For example, in response to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus infection or vaccination certain immune genes, particularly the interferons, are very slowly turned on and also weakly expressed. This means that protective immunity is poor. Use of our differential gene expression tools provide new ways to measure disease and vaccine responses. These studies will help us develop clear tests to indicate which vaccines are more effective and thus, potentially, better stimulators of protective immunity. They also will help vaccine manufacturers to compare vaccination protocols and select better adjuvants to improve vaccines. According to the National Pork Board (NPB), PRRS costs U.S. pork producers at least $600 million annually. Thus, it is the most economically significant disease facing the US pig industry today. Modified live virus vaccines are available for PRRS but are not completely protective, particularly against heterologous viral challenges. New immune approaches are needed for PRRS prevention, including using new biotherapeutics, improved vaccines and better adjuvants.