Efforts to Create ASF Vaccines Result in Cautious Optimism

May 15, 2019

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The Director of VIDO-InterVac says efforts aimed at developing vaccines to protect pigs from African Swine Fever are resulting in cautious optimism.
 
Scientists with VIDO-InterVac, in partnership with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and partners in Kenya where African Swine Fever is present in pigs, have been working to develop vaccines to protect against the virus.
 
VIDO-InterVac Director Dr. Volker Gerdts notes several candidate vaccines are now being tested at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's facility in Winnipeg.
 
Dr. Volker Gerdts-VIDO-InterVac:
 
We are using what is called a viral vector.
We're making a vaccine that is based on a harmless virus.
In this case we're using an Adenovirus.
 
We're manipulating the virus and we're inserting genes from the African Swine Fever into this Adenovirus and then use that for vaccination.
That's one of the promising approaches that is being used to control this disease.
 
Like many other diseases, it's also an approach that is also being used in humans to tackle important diseases such as HIV or Tuberculosis.
It's a very modern approach.
 
Over the years we've made over 30 different vaccine candidates and these are being tested as we speak in pigs.
We generated these vaccine candidates and they were injected into pigs and so soon these pigs will exposed to the disease and then we will see whether they are protected against the disease or not.
 
Dr. Gerdts acknowledges African Swine Fever is a large virus with a lot of tools it can use to evade the immune system and there are many different types so it is difficult to control.
 
He says there is a number of different approaches being taken around the world to develop effective vaccines and we are starting to see candidates that might potentially protect pigs from the disease so there is cautious optimism.
- Bruce Cochrane.
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