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Promising Vaccine Candidate

Researchers in the US have developed a vaccine against African swine fever that may be highly effective, Bloomberg News reports. It adds that African swine fever is found throughout eastern Europe, Russia, and Asia, and can be highly lethal to pigs, but does not affect people.

Researchers from the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York found that the deletion of the I177L gene from ASFV-G, a highly virulent African swine fever virus strain from a 2007 outbreak in the Republic of Georgia, led to viral attenuation. As they report in the Journal of Virology, they then inoculated pigs with this genetically modified attenuated virus to find that the pigs developed a strong immune response to the virus and then were protected when challenged with the virulent form of the virus. 

"This new experimental ASFV vaccine shows promise, and offers complete protection against the current strain currently producing outbreaks throughout Eastern Europe and Asia," senior author Douglas Gladue, a senior scientist at Plum Island, says in a statement.

The University of Liverpool's Eric Fevre tells Bloomberg that if this candidate vaccine is shown to work and be safe in clinical trials and field tests, then it "could have major benefits for pig production and disease control."