Intrauterine Vaccination Offers Potential Alternative to Needles

Farmscape for March 22, 2022

Full Interview 6:50 Listen

The use of intrauterine vaccination to protect sows, gilts and their piglets from Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea is showing promise as an alternative to the use of needles. Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization are exploring intrauterine vaccination as an alternative to needles to improve the safety of personnel and avoid accidents such as needle breaks or skin bruises. Dr. Pooja Choudhary, a postdoctoral fellow with VIDO, notes the majority of commercial pigs are bred by artificial insemination so the uterus is easily accessible during each reproductive cycle.

Clip-Dr. Pooja Choudhary-Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization:
Our idea is to add the vaccine into semen bags prior to insemination and deliver it to the uterus where it can generate an immune response.
So, when we are formulating the intrauterine vaccine, we focus on multiple aspects. First is that the vaccine should not affect sperm function, secondly it should have generated a strong antibody response in the gilts and sows and in colostrum and last but not least, we want to achieve a single dose protective vaccine for both mums and their piglets. With our current knowledge, we can formulate vaccines that do not affect sperm function and sow fertility but, right now, we need a few doses to get the immune response and protective immunity at some level so we need to keep improving on that so we can get a single-dose vaccine so that the gilts are protected at the first-time pregnancy.

Dr. Choudhary says preliminary results have shown this approach to be safe and it offers considerable benefit for the pig industry because the person-power needed to vaccinate is reduced by coupling vaccination with insemination.

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