investigation into treatments for pig wasting disease

European Union researchers have teamed up with north American scientists to successfully develop commercially-viable treatments for pig wasting disease 'postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome' (PMWS), a major scourge of the pigmeat sector.

A new report on ongoing research, says PCVD is, "the most economically important pig disease to emerge in the last 10 years", and "severely affects the livelihood of producers through EU member states and elsewhere."

Tapping money available from the EU's framework programmes on research, EU-funded project FOOD-CT-2004-513928 will finish in 2009, and has already created an international multidisciplinary consortium to fight the disease, with expertise in epidemiology, pig genetics, pig nutrition, pathology, molecular biology, immunology, vaccinology and virology.

Epizootological surveys have been completed in EU member states, diagnostics have been harmonised and potential vaccines are being field trialled.

Said the report: "To date, PCV2 vaccination appears to be a successful methodology to control most outbreaks." It added that unified studies in molecular biology, immunology, pig nutrition and genetics "are unravelling the mechanisms of disease reproduction following infection of pigs with PCV2."

European producers in the COPA-COGECA federation are working with the National Pork Board in the USA, pig producers in Canada and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), through the project.