"Is effective!!!" Chinese researchers announce the development of ASF vaccine
The developement of an effective vaccine against African swine fever was announced at the beginning of this week by a team of researchers from Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, China. According to Xinhua news agency, this is the first step in developing effective and safe vaccines against the disease.
Bu Zhigao, director of the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of CAAS, said China is facing a great challenge in controlling the spread of African swine fever. It is urgent to develop more powerful tools such as a vaccine to prevent the disease.
"The breakthrough in unveiling the fine structure of the virus is important and fundamental research, which will provide clues to explore fundamental mechanisms for the infection, pathogenicity and immunology of African swine fever, as well as vaccine development," he said. The scientists worked for four months to gather over 100 TB of high-quality data that allowed the team to make this major breakthrough in revealing the complexity of the virus.
"African swine fever, with an epidemic history of nearly 100 years, is a challenging global problem. It has a stable structure and can survive for months under normal temperatures, posing a great challenge for prevention and control. Scientists have limited knowledge of the virus. We hope to open the door to have a better understanding of the disease," explained Wang Xiangxi, one of the team members. However, until a vaccine will be released in the market it could take years of research and tests.
African swine fever, first described in Kenya in 1921, is a highly contagious viral disease of swine with mortality rates approaching 100 percent. Over the past decade, the disease has spread through many countries, posing a serious risk of further expansion.
Until now, the World Organization for Animal Health was notified by 27 countries of new or ongoing outbreaks: 14 in Europe, 10 in Asia and three in Africa. With no vaccine or treatment available, culling pigs is the most effective way to contain the outbreaks, more than 30 million pigs have been culled during 2018 and 2019. The African swine fever pandemics have caused estimated economic losses of $2 billion for swine production worldwide. The African swine fever virus is stable in the environment and transmits rapidly and efficiently among pigs, scientists say. African swine fever is believed to only infect pigs. No humans or other species are known to have been infected.
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