It’s said that “good things come in threes,” but for veterinary diagnostic researchers at Kansas State University, that number is five.
The “good things” in this case are a set of five research grants obtained through the Swine Health Information Center, Ames, Iowa, for developing tests to reliably diagnose a very specific set of swine-related pathogens.
“We in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory have unique expertise leading in these areas,” said Jianfa Bai, clinical associate professor and director of molecular research and development for the diagnostic laboratory. “We have already done background research in these areas: Seneca Valley virus, porcine circovirus type three, parainfluenza, pestivirus and swine influenza viruses. The Swine Health Information Center has a mission to try to protect livestock that takes place through emerging pathogen surveillance and diagnostics, and we are able to support that mission with the work we do on a regular basis.”
Ying Fang, a professor of molecular virology, said that Kansas State University’s location and its connections and partnerships with the incoming National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, the university’s Biosecurity Research Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Services and Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit, Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor were important factors in leveraging the grants, which total $292,667.
“The Swine Health Information Center needs us as diagnosticians and researchers to interconnect and communicate in real time — to understand and track emerging diseases,” Fang said. “This is a perfect example of translational research applied for benefit of clients and livestock industries.”
Gary Anderson, director of the Diagnostic Laboratory, added, “We, as a diagnostic lab, value research. We are able to blend research with service, such as when field veterinarians provide livestock tissue and clinical samples for analysis. It’s also important that we are able to be leaders in sharing technology — validated tests — among other diagnostic laboratories, so that we are all better able to respond to emerging diseases if and when they occur.”
Bai said that the Swine Health Information Center has an association with the National Pork Board, but that the center’s own emphasis is on finding ways to quickly to respond to emerging threats to swine health. The five pathogens named in the research grants are part of the center’s top 25 pathogens of concern.
“Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, or PEDv, was a pathogen that caused billions of dollars in economic losses in recent years to pork producers,” Bai said. “Other pathogens need to be studied and controlled quickly to prevent similar outbreaks. The sooner we can develop assays to diagnose these pathogens, then producers will be better equipped to respond to any emerging threats.”
The following grants were received through the Swine Health Information Center:
• “Detection and differentiation of Seneca Valley virus (SVV) from foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV),” $65,700, to Bai, principal investigator; and Fang, Lalitha Peddireddi, Xuming Liu, Yanhua Li and Anderson.
• “Detection and differentiation of PCV3 from PCV2a, PCV2b and the highly prevalent PCV2d mutant strains,” $56,700, to Bai, principal investigator; and Fang, Peddireddi, Liu, Li and Anderson.
• “Development of sensitive and reliable diagnostic assay to detect atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV) in swine,” $55,267, to Peddireddi, principal investigator; and Bai, Fang, Liu, Richard Hesse, Benjamin Hause, Anderson, Bailey Arruda and Paulo Arruda.
• “Multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay for simultaneous detection and differentiation of swine influenza C, D and B viruses,” $58,500, to Liu, principal investigator; and Bai, Fang, Peddireddi, Li and Anderson.
• “Development of a TaqMan quantitative RT-PCR test for porcine parainfluenza virus 1,” $56,500, to Li, principal investigator; and Fang, Bai, Liu, Peddireddi, Anderson and Chase Stahl.