Development of vaccines to improve porcine health
Coronaviruses are important pathogens of both human and veterinary relevance. Enteric coronaviruses of farm and companion animals often cause significant morbidity/mortality, with consequential economic losses in the case of livestock animals. A prominent enteric coronavirus is the emerging porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), which can cause severe diarrhea with a fatality rate approaching 100% in young piglets. To protect animals against the clinical outcome of these serious infections, pigs can be vaccinated with live-attenuated virus (LAV) vaccines.
The aim of this project is to develop such a vaccine against PEDV based on a recombinant live-attenuated virus (rLAV). This vaccine will be developed using the PEDV reverse-genetics system recently developed by UU. Development of this PEDV vaccine is not only of veterinary significance but will also give important insights in reverse-genetics vaccine strategies against coronaviruses in general. This is important because coronaviruses are well-known for their zoonotic potential, as MERS and SARS.
Thus, the research proposed in the project will provide a basis for vaccine strategies against future emerging zoonotic coronavirus infections in humans as well and thereby preventing the burden of healthcare in infectious disease outbreaks.