The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) today announced that an African Swine Fever Virus vaccine candidate has been adapted to grow in a cell line, which means that those involved in vaccine production will no longer have to rely on live pigs and their fresh cells for vaccine production. “This opens the door for large-scale vaccine production, which is a valuable tool for the possible eradication of the virus,” said senior ARS scientist Dr. Manuel Borca.
African Swine Fever is known to cause virulent, deadly outbreaks in wild and domestic swine, causing widespread and lethal outbreaks in various countries in Eastern Europe and throughout Asia. African Swine Fever is not a threat to humans and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans. However, outbreaks have led to significant economic losses and pork shortages on local and global scales. No commercial vaccines are currently available to prevent the virus from spreading. There have not been any outbreaks in the United States, but it’s estimated that a national outbreak could cost at least $14 billion over two years, and $50 billion over 10 years.
African swine fever (ASF), a disease of obligatory declaration to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), has contributed to poverty and underdevelopment of affected areas. The presence of ASF has been historically neglected in Africa, contributing to its uncontrolled expansion and favouring its spread to continental Europe on at least three occasions, the last one in 2007 through the Republic of Georgia. Since then, African swine fever virus (ASFV) has spread to neighbouring countries, reaching the European Union in 2014, China in the summer of 2018 and spreading through Southeast Asia becoming a global problem. Lack of available vaccines against ASF makes its control even more difficult, representing today the number one threat for the swine industry worldwide and negatively affecting the global commerce equilibrium.
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