Farmscape for June 21, 2021
VIDO-InterVac has resumed its work on the development of an African Swine Fever Vaccine after having shifted its attention to COVID-19.
African Swine Fever is an OIE reportable disease which affects swine that is not present in North America but continues to spread in Europe and Asia.
Dr. Andrew Van Kessel, the Associate Director Research with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, VIDO-InterVac, explains the virus responsible for African Swine Fever is extremely complicated.
Clip-Dr. Andrew Van Kessel-VIDO-InterVac:
It's a virus with a large genome, like 160 genes which is quite unusual, quite large terms of the viral world and developing a vaccine that A is capable of protecting and infection and B, particularly in North American markets where the virus has not yet arrived, if we're going to use a vaccine strategy, we definitely need to be able to differentiate a vaccinated animal from an infected animal so a vaccine needs to have that capability.
Another challenge is that right now growing the virus requires us to harvest cells from pigs and grow those primary cells from pig lung, pig macrophages in fact and grow them in the laboratory.
That effort of having to go to a pig, harvest cells, go to the lab, attempt to grow the virus and vice versa is a difficult one.
So, one of the primary challenges is to establish cells lines that allow us to grow the virus and grow it invitro in the laboratory so that can work with it, study it, so that it doesn't change its structure from the natural virus that is infecting pigs.
Dr. Andrew Van Kessel says VIDO's focus on the COVID pandemic has slowed its work on African Swine Fever but that work is ongoing.
He says it would be very difficult to put a specific time frame on that effort at this point.
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