WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has announced the development of an African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) vaccine candidate shown to prevent and effectively protect both European and Asian bred swine against the current circulating Asian strain of the virus.

Asia produces a majority of the swine used in the global food supply. The Asian strain of African Swine Fever (ASF) is the strain currently causing outbreaks and devastating the swine industry. Originally detected in the Republic of Georgia in 2007, ASF has caused virulent and deadly disease outbreaks in wild and domesticated swine. Since the first outbreak, ASF has devasted swine herds throughout Eastern Europe and Asia.  

New research published by the USDA in the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases shows that ARS scientists have developed a vaccine candidate able to be commercially produced and maintain vaccine efficacy against Asian ASFV strains when tested in both European and Asian breeds of swine.  The findings also state that a commercial partner can replicate experimental level results and prevent the spread 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 Douglas Gladue, ARS researcher. "This signals that the live attenuated vaccine candidate could play an important role in controlling the ongoing outbreak threatening the global pork supply.”

Approximately 33% of the swine showed the onset of immunity by week two post-vaccination with full protection in all swine achieved by the fourth week.

Researchers are still determining the safety and efficacy of the vaccine under commercial production conditions and continue to work closely working with a commercial partner in Vietnam.    

“This is a major step for science and agriculture,” said Manuel Borca, ARS researcher. “We are working carefully to see our vaccine candidate commercialized through the joint efforts of the US government, and our commercial partner, the Navetco National Veterinary Joint Stock Company.”

ARS has engineered and patented five ASF experimental vaccines and fully executed seven licenses with pharmaceutical companies to develop the vaccines. ARS continues to evaluate additional partners to develop these vaccines on a commercial scale.