Project

PoRRScon - New tools and approaches to control Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome(PRRS) in the EU and Asia

New tools and approaches to control Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) in the EU and Asia.

To safeguard the pig industry and animal welfare against the PRRS virus (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome), the EU-funded PORRSCON project is in the process of developing new tools and control approaches. As a first step, partners aim to characterise genetically and antigenically current PRRS isolates in Asia and Europe and understand the pathogenesis of the infection. To this end, they are comparing low-virulence strains with high-virulence strains, wishing to identify the cellular genes associated with virulence but also the essential and non-essential viral components.

An important line of the PORRSCON project work entails study of the immune modulation by the PRRS virus and the immune responses against the virus, by focusing on the implicated viral proteins. By comparing strains with different infection outcomes, scientists hope to discover which factors are responsible for the observed immune function variation, as well as to delineate the process of viral entry into host macrophages.

The ultimate goal of PORRSCON is to develop sensitive diagnostic assays and novel vaccines that are efficacious over different geographical virus isolates. For this purpose, researchers are testing the expression of viral antigens in the transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) vector. Additional inactivated, live recombinant and attenuated vaccines are also being evaluated.

Objectives

  • Characterize genetically and antigenically current PRRSV isolates in Europe and Asia.
  • Have a better understanding of the complex pathogenesis of PRRSV infections, immune response against PRRSV and immune modulation by PRRSV.
  • Define the genetic base of PRRSV virulence.
  • Identify PRRSV proteins and domains on these viral proteins that are involved in the induction of the immunity against PRRSV and in the immune modulation of PRRSV.
  • Develop new generation, efficacious and safe marker vaccines that can be adapted to temporary changes and geographical differences.
  • Develop DIVA assays that allow to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals. At the end, it will be possible to set up a control strategy by combining marker vaccines with DIVA assays.

Results

Taken together, the results of the PORRSCON study aim to shed light on the genetic basis and pathogenesis of the PRRS virus. Since the virus has spread in many countries around the world, the PORRSCON work hopes to provide novel control measures against infection.

Characterize genetically and antigenically current PRRSV isolates in Europe and Asia - have a better understanding of the complex pathogenesis of PRRSV infections, immune response against PRRSV and immune modulation by PRRSV - define the genetic base of PRRSV virulence - identify PRRSV proteins and domains on these viral proteins that are involved in the induction of the immunity against PRRSV and in the immune modulation of PRRSV - develop new generation, efficacious and safe marker vaccines that can be adapted to temporary changes and geographical differences - develop DIVA assays that allow to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals. At the end, it will be possible to set up a control strategy by combining marker vaccines with DIVA assays.