Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) entails a broad scope of disciplines, from pharmaceuticals to medical technology and from healthcare infrastructure to vaccination. To realise its mission – vital citizens in a healthy economy - the Top Sector builds on the strengths of the Dutch LSH sector to address the biggest societal challenges in prevention, cure and care. By funding multidisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPPs) the Top Sector aims to facilitate innovation. Here we give an overview of  a number of funded R&D projects by Top Sector LSH. The page is updated continuously.

Development of vaccines to improve porcine health

Vaccine development for an emerging, diarrhea-causing coronavirus in pigs

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.