HARRISVACCINES announced Oct. 1 that it was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food & Agriculture to conduct porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) research.
The grant, titled "Proteomics-Defined Porcine Reproductive & Respiratory Syndrome Virus Immunoproteome," will be a two-year project.
The basic research project will focus on a new way of looking for protective determinants of PRRSv. During the first year of the project, Harrisvaccines said it will be generating protein fragment libraries of PRRSv strains, and the PRRSv protein fragment libraries will be screened using technology developed by project collaborator Dr. Manohar John of PathoVacs.
"Dr. John has a novel technology that allows him to screen thousands of antigens at a time," Harrisvaccines head of research and project director Dr. Mark Mogler said. "This will be very beneficial, because rather than looking at only one antigen at a time, we will be able to look at tens of thousands simultaneously."
The second year of the project will mainly consist of data analysis and confirmatory testing.
At the end of the two years, Mogler said he is confident that Harrisvaccines will be able to characterize the immune response to PRRSv proteins by identifying reactive sites that otherwise would not have been found.
"Ideally, we would find a sequence or a set of sequences that are found across all PRRSv strains. We could then use these to make a more effective PRRSv vaccine," Mogler explained.
Headquartered in Ames, Iowa, Harrisvaccines focuses on animal health vaccines and enhancing productivity in the swine, cattle, equine and farmed aquaculture industries.
PathoVacs Inc. is an early-stage biotechnology company based in Ames. The company uses a proteome mining platform in the novel protein antigen discovery for development of broadly protective/universal subunit vaccines against infectious agents that cause diseases in people, livestock and poultry.