How do pigs respond to infection? This is the passion of Dr. Mike Murtaugh, Ph.D from the University of Minnesota. His passion was rewarded when he received funding through the Respiratory Disease Research Board with support from BIVI of $35,000 for his project, “Pen-Side Respiratory Pathogen Identification. The honor was bestowed during the American Association of Swine Veterinarians conference in New Orleans. Also during the conference, Murtaugh gave a presentation based on his award-winning research.
Chuck Zimmerman caught up with Murtaugh to learn more about his work. Murtaugh said his research is focused on pig health, particularly how pigs respond to infection. He noted they have done a lot of work in the PRRS virus since PCV2 emerged in 2006 and PEDv. “In general, we’re trying to understand how pigs respond immunologically to viral infection because we think that information has value in understanding the mechanisms that underlie protective vaccine impacts, and it tells us what about the virus needs to be targeted for effective protection.”
Murtaugh explained that PCV2 has been in America for years without causing infection and then around 2006 the disease exploded throughout North America. Researchers found that there were essentially two virus strains coming out of herds (notated A and B).
“PCVA was the dominate genotype until the disease exploded. PCV2 has become more common, and just recently since 2012 another genetic group we call mutant PCV2B or PCV2D has emerged and is clearly becoming more common though its true prevalence is not understood yet,” said Murtaugh who also speaks about vaccinations’ cross-protection success against these viruses.
You can learn more by listening to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Mike: Interview with Dr. Mike Murtaugh, U of Minn