BREAKING: New Vaccine Candidate Blocks Spread of African Swine Fever Virus

A new African swine fever (ASF) vaccine candidate has been shown to prevent and effectively protect both European and Asian bred swine against the current circulating Asian strain of the virus, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) reports. 

Newly published USDA research 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 breeds of swine, ARS reported in a release. 

The findings also confirm that a commercial partner can replicate experimental level results and prevent the spread of the virus. According to ARS, previous studies were done under laboratory conditions only in European-bred pigs using an ASF virus isolate, or sample, from the initial outbreak.

ARS researcher Douglas Gladue said, "We are excited that our team's research has resulted in promising vaccine results that are able to be repeated on a commercial level, in different pig breeds, and by using a recent ASFV isolate. This signals that the live attenuated vaccine candidate could play an important role in controlling the ongoing outbreak threatening the global pork supply.”

Studies of this new vaccine candidate revealed immunity occurred in approximately one-third of swine by second week post-vaccination, with full protection in all swine achieved by the fourth week.

A commercial vaccine for ASF virus will be an important part of controlling disease spread 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.   

"This is a major step for science and agriculture," pointed out ARS researcher Manuel Borca. "We are working carefully to see our vaccine candidate commercialized through the joint efforts of the U.S. government, and our commercial partner, the Navetco National Veterinary Joint Stock Company."

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack applauds the research and protection efforts underway at USDA’s ARS and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to prevent the spread of ASF virus. 

“Scientific research, discovery, surveillance and detection are critical to solving challenging problems that American producers face to keep our food supply robust and safe,” Vilsack said.

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.

“The partnership between APHIS and ARS is critical in protecting U.S. animal agriculture from devastating diseases like ASF,” said Kevin Shea, APHIS Administrator. “ARS's work in researching and developing vaccine candidates provides valuable tools to animal health organizations worldwide in combating ASF. APHIS is ready to evaluate potential ASF vaccines for use in the United States.”

All U.S. vaccine candidates have to go through the APHIS regulatory approval process for use in U.S. swine, the release explained.

“We are excited that our team’s research has resulted in promising vaccine candidates that are able to prevent and protect different swine breeds against the current ASF virus,” said ARS Administrator Chavonda Jacobs-Young. “Vaccine candidates could play an important role in controlling the ongoing outbreak threatening global swine health.”

More from Farm Journal's PORK:

ASF Vaccines: Is the Waiting Game Almost Over?

5 Pork Industry Experts Weigh in on the Threat of ASF

Put Guards in Place to Defend Your Farm

Close All the Windows to Keep ASF Out

ASF in the Western Hemisphere: What’s Different 40 Years Later? 

​​​​​​It's Time to ​Batten Down the Hatches, Pork Industry Experts Say

Learn more about what the industry is doing to prevent ASF from entering the country.


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