02/09/2015 04:48 EST | Updated 04/11/2015 05:59 EDT

Canadian researchers working on how to protect young pigs from deadly virus

CALGARY - Canadian researchers are working on how to protect young pigs from a deadly virus that has killed millions of animals around the world.

The porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus has killed at least eight million piglets in the U.S. since 2013.

It has been found at more than 70 hog farms and pork facilities in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

Genome Alberta says three research projects will share $650,000 in funding from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and the federal governments.

The projects include developing a vaccine against the virus and how to detect PED in the environment and in food additives.

Much of the research is being done by a private company in Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Montreal and the National Centres for Animal Disease in Winnipeg.