African swine fever vaccination hope

Zach RelphCountryman
African swine fever is threatening to dent the world’s pig stocks.
Camera IconAfrican swine fever is threatening to dent the world’s pig stocks. Credit: Danella Bevis

Spanish researchers say a vaccine could protect global pork stocks from the ravaging swine virus that is decimating pigs in Asia.

A new research paper, published by peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, found wild boars could be immunised for African swine fever by a vaccine administered through food.

While confident the findings could safeguard pork producers from the deadly disease, co-author Jose Angel Barasona said further studies were required.

“African swine fever is of enormous concern to the pig industry,” he said.

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“Our study demonstrates the effectiveness of the first oral vaccine against this disease on Eurasian wild boar.

“Overall, we demonstrated that oral immunisation of wild boar conferred 92 per cent protection against a highly pathogenic strain of African swine fever, which is currently circulating throughout Asia and Europe.”

African swine fever has no known vaccine to combat its toll.

Since it was detected in China last August, it has spread into every province in the country and led to the culling of more than one million pigs across the nation.

About 50,000 pigs have been killed in Vietnam and about 720 ASF-infected pigs have been killed in neighbouring Cambodia.

The disease is also present in eight European nations — Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.

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