Researchers have shown that a candidate vaccine developed by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service can prevent and effectively protect both European and Asian-bred swine against the African swine fever (ASF).
Research published in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases concluded that the vaccine candidate has the ability to be commercially produced while still maintaining its vaccine efficacy against Asian ASF strains when tested in both European and Asian breeds of swine. The findings also show that a commercial partner can replicate experimental level results and prevent the spread of the virus.
The onset of immunity was revealed in approximately one-third of the swine by the second week post-vaccination, with full protection in all swine achieved by the fourth week.
The majority of swine used in the global food supply are produced in Asia, where the virus has been causing outbreaks and devastating losses to the swine industry. ASF 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 Europe and throughout Asia. There is no cure for the disease in pigs, so culling is the only option for infected animals.
Although the virus is causing profound economic losses to the global swine industry, there have not been any outbreaks in the United States, and the virus is unable to transmit from pigs to humans.
A commercial vaccine for ASF will be an important part of controlling the virus in outbreak areas. Researchers will continue to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine under commercial production conditions and are closely working with their commercial partner in Vietnam.