USDA announces vaccine for prevention of African Swine Fever 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) announced that one of its African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) vaccine candidates has been shown to prevent and effectively protect both European and Asian bred swine against the current circulating Asian strain of the virus.

“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,” said ARS researcher Douglas Gladue. “This signals that the live attenuated vaccine candidate could play an important role in controlling the ongoing outbreak threatening the global pork supply.”

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, USDA noted. 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, it has had a widespread and lethal impact on swine herds in in Eastern Europe and throughout Asia. 

USDA’s 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 ASFV 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, USDA noted.

To date, ARS said it has successfully engineered and patented five ASF experimental vaccines and has fully executed seven licenses with pharmaceutical companies to develop the vaccines.