18/07/2023 Pigs

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is a viral disease that is considered a significant threat to the global swine industry. The impact of PRRS is aggravated because of secondary infections following the viral challenge. These secondary infections contribute to the negative consequences of the disease. On farms where farm management and biosecurity measures are not sufficient to control PRRS, an immunomodulation strategy could be a valuable approach to reduce the impact of this disease.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is caused by a small RNA virus with a protective envelope. It replicates and spreads within the body of sows and piglets. PRRS leads to a wide range of symptoms, impacting pig farming in various ways. Farmers face challenges such as reduced piglet numbers, longer time between litters, increased sow replacement rates, lower body weight gain, and feed efficiency. PRRS also increases the susceptibility to other infections, including respiratory pathogens, like Streptococcus suis, and porcine circovirus-2. The virus can persist on farms for extended periods, causing recurring disease-related issues (Wageningen University).


One of the challenges in controlling the PRRS virus (PRRSv) is an imbalance of cytokines in infected animals. Infected animals tend to have limited production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are crucial for activating the immune response and clearing the virus. Additionally, there is evidence of delayed production of neutralizing antibodies and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), which inhibit PRRSv replication. This downregulation of IFN-γ in PRRSv-infected animals complicates the control of the disease. While farm management practices and biosecurity measures are needed to control PRRSv supported by vaccination, problem farms may require an immunomodulation strategy to effectively manage the disease.


Elan®C12, a feed additive based on glycerides of lauric acid (C12), including α-monolaurin, holds great potential in disrupting the viral envelope of the virus, and hindering its entry into host cells.

Feed additives based on glycerides of lauric acid, like Elan®C12, gain popularity in broiler and pig farming for their potential to combat viral challenges. These additives can directly target virus particles or stimulate the host’s immune system, enhancing the ability of the latter to reduce the pathogenicity of the viruses. Elan®C12 offers a promising approach to reduce the impact of PRRS, helping viral clearance and reducing the risk of secondary infections following a PRRS infection in pigs.

Although the exact mode of action is not yet fully understood, incorporating Elan®C12 into sow diets can significantly improve piglet health, well-being, and financial outcomes, especially in farms with higher PRRS loads.




Johannes Fuite – CEO Olus

Johannes Fuite is the founder and CEO of Olus. He founded Olus in 2014 as a professional company complete with its own production facility in Hasselt, Netherlands. Johannes brings extensive experience and a strong commitment to the livestock industry. Together with the team, he develops feed additives and investigates nutritional approaches that improve gut health and optimize performance.