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USDA vaccine candidate is effective against African swine fever

In an achievement the USDA described as a major step for science and agriculture, scientists at the Agricultural Research Service have developed a vaccine candidate that protects hogs from the deadly African swine fever. In the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, the researchers said, “To our knowledge, this is the first report” of a vaccine candidate that is effective in Asian and European breeds of hogs.

ARS researcher Manuel Borca said the USDA was “working carefully to see our vaccine candidate commercialized through the joint efforts of the U.S. government and our commercial partner, Navetco National Veterinary Joint Stock Company.” On its website, Navetco, based in Ho Chi Minh City, says it belongs directly to Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In a release, the USDA said the development of a vaccine candidate that protects different breeds of hogs from the African swine fever, caused by a highly contagious virus, was “a major step for science and agriculture. A commercial vaccine for ASF will be an important part of controlling ASF in outbreak areas.”

ASF epidemics in China and 14 countries in Southeast Asia have killed tens of millions of hogs in the past few years, with economic losses estimated at between $55 billion and $130 billion. The disease was first identified in the Republic of Georgia in 2007. It recent weeks, it was confirmed in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

USDA researchers developed the vaccine candidate by deleting a gene from the genome of the ASF virus.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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