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Plum Island Patent-pending Process Breakthrough for FMD Vaccine

Technology will allow foot-and-mouth disease vaccine manufacturing in the United States because it does not require the use of live FMDV for vaccine production. [Source: National Hog Farmer 10 June 2020]

When it comes to livestock, foot-and-mouth disease is probably the most devastating picornavirus on the planet.

In December of 2019, the World Intellectual Property Organization published a patent application titled "Modified Picornavirus 3C Proteases and Methods Thereof" from Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate inventors John Neilan and Michael Puckette at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. These same researchers recently had another breakthrough related to the detection of African swine fever in pigs.

FMD is a serious and economically devastating livestock disease. Foot-and-mouth disease virus, the virus causing FMD, is extremely contagious and afflicts animals with cloven hooves like cows, pigs, sheep and deer. It should not be confused with hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which primarily affects humans, especially young children.

When FMD strikes livestock, it causes painful blisters in and around the mouth, nose, mammary glands and hooves. When the blisters burst, they leave raw open wounds that are susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. Along with physical discomfort, the animals experience disinterest in eating and pain when moving, standing and milking. Although the overall FMD mortality rate in adult livestock is relatively low, it can prove fatal for young animals. Survivors are often left in a weakened state and are generally incapable of producing draught-animal power, milk, meat or offspring at the levels they had before infection.

Read more about the PIADC invention breakthrough at National Hog Farmer.