‘Promising’ developments in search for ASF vaccine in China

Researchers in China have welcomed what they describe as ‘very promising’ progress in the search for a vaccine to protect against African swine fever (ASF).

China’s top animal disease research body, the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, has reportedly developed an ASF vaccine that has proved to be safe and effective in laboratory trials, according to a research paper. The institute created the live vaccine, called HLJ/-18-7GD, from a series of ‘gene-delete’ viruses using the country’s first strain of ASF.

“The virulence, immunogenicity, safety, and protective efficacy evaluation in specific-pathogen-free pigs, commercial pigs, and pregnant sows indicated that one virus, namely HLJ/18-7GD, which has seven genes deleted, is fully attenuated in pigs, cannot convert to the virulent strain, and provides complete protection of pigs against lethal ASFV challenge,” the researchers said.

“Our study shows that HLJ/-18-7GD is a safe and effective vaccine against ASFV, and as such is expected to play an important role in controlling the spread of ASFV.”

China’s pig herd has taken a massive hit since ASF was first discovered in the country in August 2018, with production down by more than 20% in 2019 and forecast to contract further in 2019.

There is no suggestion the vaccine is close to getting market approval and no estimate has been given on when it could be put into production.

But the institute said: “The vaccine is currently the most promising one for commercial production and will provide important technical means for the effective prevention and control of African swine fever in China and other related countries.”


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