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Vaccine for ASF shows promise in clinical trials

A Chinese vaccine against African swine fever appears to be safe in clinical trials.

15 June 2020, at 9:19am

Reuters reports that a Chinese vaccine that protects pigs from African swine fever appears to be safe in clinical trials. If successful, the vaccine would be crucial for preventing one of the world’s most debilitating livestock diseases.

As there is no cure or vaccine against ASF, pig farmers in China and around the world are monitoring the vaccine’s progress.

The disease, which kills almost all pigs infected, has devastated the huge hog herd since arriving in China in 2018, and is still killing pigs there and elsewhere in Asia.

In a paper published in March, Chinese researchers at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, part of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), said a live attenuated vaccine they had developed was safe and effective against African swine fever in laboratory tests.

Clinical trials were approved in March and have been underway since on 3,000 pigs in three locations, said Xinhua, which cited a CAAS news conference.

The three farms in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, the far western region of Xinjiang and the central province of Henan began testing the vaccine in stages from April to June.

“To know whether it works, it needs to be tested in an environment where you’d have all the different circumstances, like different types of farm and densities, and then you’d become more confident in understanding what the vaccine actually does,” said Dirk Pfeiffer, a professor of veterinary epidemiology at City University of Hong Kong.

“We’d need to see more data.”

Read more about this story on Reuters.