Veterinary researchers at Iowa State University have developed a new test to detect antibodies against porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).
Previously, the virus could be detected only in acute cases while it was still reproducing and infecting a host pig. In such cases, the virus could be identified through the use of a polymerase chain reaction assay. However, Iowa State said those tests could give a false negative if the pig had stopped shedding the disease or if shedding had become intermittent.
The new test — called an immunofluorescence antibody or indirect fluorescent antibody assay — is conducted using blood samples from pigs and will allow veterinarians and producers to know if a pig has ever had the disease in the past, regardless if it is shedding the virus or not. It's the first test available to the U.S. veterinary community that can detect PEDV antibodies, Iowa State said.
"The new test gives practitioners and their clients a historical perspective," said Dr. John Johnson, a clinician in veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine. "It'll help them to understand if a particular animal has been exposed to the virus before. This tool, coupled with polymerase chain reaction results, will provide additional crucial information as veterinarians and their clientele assess the risk of moving a group of animals into a PEDV-negative population."
The screening, available through the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, costs $5.50 per sample and can be requested by local veterinarians.