The Rapid Micro Blog

Our blog will keep you informed of new and noteworthy technologies, reviews of recent publications and presentations, upcoming conferences and training events, and what's changing in the rapid and alternative microbiological methods world.

Researchers Develop Rapid Detection Tool for Swine Disease

Image created by Dr. Michael J. Miller

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) bestowed a $1 million grant to scientists at Iowa State University, as well as collaborators from South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, Kansas State University, Ohio Animal Diseases and Diagnostic Laboratory, and Purdue University. The collaborators will use the Swine Disease Reporting System to quickly detect new strands of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV).

“For the first time in the swine industry, we can use private data, while keeping providers anonymous, to generate information and share it with stakeholders who can use it in the decision-making process to manage and control an economically important disease such as PRRSV,” explained Giovani Trevisan, DVM, MBA, PhD, research assistant professor at Iowa State, in the organizational release. “Therefore, the platform has the potential to rapidly inform US citizens about health challenges affecting swine farms, which is critical for the sustainability and secure pork supply.”

According to the release, the teams have launched SDA BLAST Tool (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool), a web-based one-of-a-kind tool that veterinarians, producers, and other users can utilize to compare genetic sequences of PRRSV with those within the Swine Disease Reporting System. The Swine Disease Reporting System is a collaboration between 6 National Animal Health Laboratory Network-accredited veterinary diagnostic labs, university, and key stakeholders that collects collates and monitors diagnostic data from 9 infectious agents within swine herds in the United States. The reporting system also keeps farms, producers, production systems, veterinarians, and participating laboratories confidential.

Based on retrospective data collected, SDRS detected 133 new sequences of PRRSV from 2010 to 2023, with most new strands detected in samples that were collected in Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois. The majority of the new sequences were also detected in swine that were grow-finish, highlighting the importance of this age group of pigs on the ecology of the disease, and likely other pathogens. The result from the retrospective data is also highlighting the fact efforts to improve biocontamination and biosecurity are required and could help mitigate the risk of new strains emerging.

“Collaboration with industry stakeholders is critical to a timely disease response, and this project, in part through the SDRS Blast Tool, is building relationships needed on a day-to-day basis for endemic disease management,” said Michelle Colby, DVM, MS, national program leader for animal biosecurity at NIFA. “Relationships that will be essential if we are ever faced with the need to respond to a transboundary or emerging disease within the US swine industry.”

Since the SDRS PPRSV Blast Tool was released in February 2024, it had detected L1C.5 PRRSV, a very aggressive strain of PRRSV, in South Carolina for the first time. This poses an imminent threat to the largest swine breeding inventory in the US located in North Carolina, where this strain has never been seen before. It also helped identify the PRRSV sequence detected in South Carolina was a 100% match to sequences in other states, that were not neighboring South Carolina.

The SDRS Blast Tool can also be adapted to receive sequences from other pathogens such as the African Swine Flu (ASF). If the tool detects ASF in the United States, and permitted by the USDA, the participant lab could send the generated sequences of ASF on a real-time basis to keep track of the genetic evolution and pathogen spread of the sequence.


Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory scientists develop tool to rapidly detect devastating swine disease. News release. National Institute of Food and Agriculture. April 29, 2024. Accessed April 30, 2024.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form