- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Animal health company Zoetis has received conditional approval from federal regulators for a vaccine that helps fight a virus that has killed millions of piglets since it started showing up in the United States last year.

The Florham Park, New Jersey, company said Wednesday that its vaccine for the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus should be available to veterinarians and pig farmers this month. The vaccine is designed to be injected into pregnant female pigs to help them develop antibodies that can then be passed on to their piglets.

A field study showed the vaccine to be safe, but Zoetis said it is working to complete other studies needed for full licensure in the United States.

Zoetis Inc. also said it was still working with Iowa State University researchers on a possible second vaccine.

In June, the federal government also gave conditional approval to another vaccine developed by Iowa-based Harrisvaccines.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea has been blamed in part for rising pork prices. It has proven deadly to young pigs that can quickly become dehydrated after the virus hits. It does not infect humans or pets.

Shares of Zoetis, the former animal health business of U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., climbed 1.6 percent, or 58 cents, to $36.06 in Wednesday morning trading, while broader indexes rose less than 1 percent.

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