Researchers making progress on ASF vaccine

(Farm and Dairy file photo) Photo by Kurt Stepnitz/Michigan State University

WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers are making good progress in finding a vaccine to effectively prevent African Swine Fever. 

The Agricultural Research Service published new research Sept. 30, that highlights a new vaccine candidate that has been shown to prevent and effectively protect both European and Asian bred swine against the current circulating Asian strain of the virus. 

Previous studies were done under laboratory conditions only in European bred pigs using an African Swine Fever, or ASF, virus sample from the initial outbreak. ARS’s new vaccine candidate studies revealed that immunity occurred in approximately one-third of swine by second-week post-vaccination, with full protection in all swine achieved by the fourth week. 

This research, highlighted in the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, shows that ARS scientists have developed a vaccine candidate with the ability to be commercially produced while still maintaining its vaccine efficacy against Asian ASF virus strains when tested in both European and Asian swine breeds.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in a statement, applauded research and protection efforts underway to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever virus, which has been causing devastating losses to the swine industry across the globe. 

African Swine Fever was originally detected in 2007 in the Republic of Georgia and is known to cause virulent, deadly disease outbreaks in wild and domesticated swine. Since the original outbreak, ASF has had a widespread and lethal impact on swine herds in various countries in Eastern and Central Europe and throughout Asia. Although the virus is causing profound economic losses to the swine industry, there have not been any U.S. outbreaks. However, a few weeks ago ASF outbreaks were confirmed in the Dominican Republic, the first outbreak in the Americas in recent history. 

ARS researchers will continue to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine under commercial production conditions and are closely working with their commercial partner Navetco National Veterinary Joint Stock Company, located in Vietnam. 

To date, ARS has successfully engineered and patented five ASF experimental vaccines and has fully executed seven licenses with pharmaceutical companies to develop the vaccines. ARS continues to evaluate additional commercial partners to develop these vaccines.


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