Scientists Are Working on a Vaccine against African Swine Fever
Scientists are working hard on a vaccine against the African swine fever because of the outbreak of the virus in Asia, according to the Associated Press quoted by BTA.
Farmers have delayed the spread of the virus for a long time by quarantine and killing the infected animals. However, the devastating onset of the disease in East Asia is intensifying and requires another solution.
So far, scientists have not considered the virus a priority for research until it reached China last year, where it is half of the world's pig population. It has since spread to other Asian countries, including Vietnam and Taiwan, where millions of animals have been killed.
Although the disease is not transmitted to humans, it is very contagious and deadly to pigs.
“Today’s situation, where you have this global threat, puts a lot more emphasis on this research,” said Dr. Luis Rodriguez, who leads the U.S. government lab on foreign animal diseases at Plum Island, New York.
The vaccine can be developed with a dead or weakened virus. However, the first approach is not effective by the African swine fever.
In Vietnam, where the virus killed 3.7 million pigs in six months, the government said it was testing vaccines but didn’t provide information about the program.
In China, the government said scientists were working on a vaccine that alters the virus genetically - an approach taken by US researchers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it recently signed a confidential agreement with a vaccine manufacturer to further research and develop one of Plum Island’s three vaccine candidates. The candidates were made by genetically modifying the virus to delete certain genes.
Even if vaccines become available, they might not work across the globe. Vaccines developed for the virus in China and Europe, for example, might do nothing in sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease has been around longer, Time reported.
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