Partnership aims to improve PRRS virus isolation

Improving PRRSV isolation rate will allow the most relevant strains to be included in autogenous vaccines.

The Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is teaming up with Aptimmune Biologics Inc. to develop innovative solutions to fight costly viral diseases of swine.

The agreement enables Iowa State to use Aptimmune's patented ZMAC cell line to isolate porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) from diagnostic samples. The ZMAC cell line is derived from porcine alveolar macrophages, the cell naturally targeted by PRRSV, and is especially sensitive to PRRSV infection. Iowa State's access to this technology will provide greater success of PRRSV isolation from diagnostic samples.

Improvements in the PRRSV isolation rate will allow veterinarians and producers to include the most relevant field-based PRRSV strains in autogenous vaccines, according to the announcement.

"Our partnership with Aptimmune offers producers and veterinarians the combined resources of leading university researchers and a groundbreaking private company," said Dr. Phillip Gauger at Iowa State. "We have begun work with the ZMAC cell line, and very soon they will be utilized at the (Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory) for routine diagnostic use. PRRSV costs the U.S. swine industry more than $1 billion annually, so the long-term impact of our collaboration can be significant."

The agreement grows out of an ongoing relationship in which Aptimmune has used the diagnostic services offered by Iowa State.

"Our businesses strategy has always been producer focused and results driven," Aptimmune chief executive officer Aaron Gilbertie said. "This collaboration with Iowa State is a big step forward in developing effective new vaccines that will help veterinarians and producers maintain herd health and boost profitability."

Aptimmune, based in Champaign, Ill., specializes in developing and marketing a portfolio of revolutionary mucosal vaccines that provide answers for the most costly viral diseases affecting the swine industry. The company said it is launching the industry's first mucosal vaccines for swine in January 2017.

Aptimmune's first vaccines are focused on addressing two major viral respiratory pathogens: PRRSV and influenza.

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