British ASF vaccine said to protect 100% of pigs

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UK scientists have got a step closer to developing a vital vaccine for African Swine Fever (ASF). In a recent trial, 100% of pigs immunised with the new vaccine survived a lethal dose of ASF virus.

The research, carried out by scientists from The Pirbright Institute in the UK, was published in the peer reviewed journal Vaccines. According to a news release shared by the institute, the team developed a vectored vaccine, which uses a non-harmful virus (the vector) to deliver 8 strategically selected genes from the ASF virus (ASFv) genome into pig cells.

Once inside the cell, the genes produce viral proteins which primes the pig immune cells to respond to an ASF infection. All pigs that were immunised with the vaccine were protected from severe disease after challenge with an otherwise fatal strain of ASFv, although some clinical signs of disease did develop.

In the news release, Dr Chris Netherton, head of Pirbright’s ASF vaccinology group, said: “It is very encouraging to see that the genes we have selected are able to protect pigs against ASF. Although the pigs showed clinical signs of infection after challenge with the virus, our study has shown for the 1st time that a vectored vaccine against ASF is a realistic possibility.”

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