Development of an African Swine Fever Vaccine Appears More Promising

Farmscape for December 2, 2020

Full Interview 8:51 Listen

The Director and CEO of VIDO-InterVac is confident an effective vaccine to protect pigs from African Swine Fever will ultimately be developed but it will take time. Researchers around the world are using various approaches to developing vaccines to protect pigs from African Swine Fever. VIDO-InterVac Director and CEO Dr. Volker Gerdts says the approach being used by VIDO-InterVac involves inserting specific proteins from African Swine Fever into a harmless adenovirus for delivery as a vaccine.

Clip-Dr. Volker Gerdts-VIDO-InterVac:
Adenoviruses have the advantage in that we’re using a harmless virus to deliver the genes of interest, the parts of the African Swine Fever, without using the whole African Swine Fever virus. Therefor you don’t have the risk that your vaccine virus spreads within the population. You have the ability to clearly at the border, when you trade with other countries, to demonstrate that your vaccine was used but that these animals have never come into contact with a full virus, with a biotype.

We call that a DIVA vaccine where you can differentiate infected from vaccinated animals. I do think that it will be possible to eventually develop vaccines that are effective against this disease. It’s going to take a little while. In contrast to the COVID virus, the SARS COVID-2, the African Fever is a very complicated virus, a very large virus that really is very good at playing and evading the immune system. There are now three very promising vaccine candidates on the way and we think that the adenovirus platform is probably the most promising of all of those to eventually see a vaccine on the market.

Dr. Gerdts says the ability to differentiate vaccinated animals from those exposed to the live virus is very important from a trade perspective.

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