Bradley receives Research ND Bio grant to study treatment of pork virus

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News Article

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.— David Bradley, PhD, an immunologist and executive director of the Center of Research Excellence for Avian Therapeutics for Infectious Diseases at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, received a peer-reviewed Research ND Bio grant of $396,622 from the North Dakota Department of Commerce to pursue research on an avian-derived therapy for a porcine virus that could help pork farmers effectively combat outbreaks of the disease. ZymeFast Inc. is matching the Research ND Bio grant with $403,400 that will also be dedicated to this research.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus or PEDv was first identified in the United States in April 2013. PEDv is not a food safety concern. It only affects pigs and does not pose a risk to people or pets. The disease was first identified in England in 1971 and then spread to Asia. PEDv causes significant illness in swine, affecting their health and growth, and a high mortality of suckling piglets — as high as 100 percent. The disease can be transferred via farm equipment and on the boots and clothing of farm workers.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly report of May 21, 2015, PEDv has been confirmed in 28 states, including Minnesota and South Dakota. Montana has two presumed but not confirmed cases. North Dakota has had one confirmed case.

“PED virus is deadly when infecting newborn pigs causing dramatic economic burden in the pork industry where outbreaks happen,” Bradley said. “ZymeFast has an extensive history of developing avian-derived therapies for animal health issues, including an oral chick-derived therapy for PED virus currently in use in China. This grant will allow us to join my research team’s expertise in avian therapeutics with that of ZymeFast to develop a treatment in the U.S. market for PED virus.”

Bradley’s project is titled “Research and Development of Immunotherapeutic and Vaccine Candidates for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus.”

Research ND Bio grants are a part of the Research ND Program whose goal is to spur partnerships between North Dakota’s research universities — North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota — and private partners. Research ND Bio grants are focused on research to develop and commercialize vaccines and antibodies to prevent, treat, or cure cancer, virally infectious disease, or other pathogens, including bacteria, mycobacteria, fungi, and parasites.

In 2014, Bradley received a Research ND Bio grant of $2 million to assist in the research, development, and commercialization of a novel avian-derived therapeutic for parvovirus infection in puppies and dogs.