Vaccine research targets African Swine Fever


by Douglas Clark, Homeland Preparedness News

April 8, 2019


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) officials said they are expediting efforts to develop an African Swine Fever vaccine and diagnostic initiatives.


African Swine Fever is a viral disease capable of wreaking havoc in a pig’s body, causing internal bleeding resulting in almost 100 percent mortality of the infected pigs while also impacting economies and the food supply around the world because the disease is contagious and deadly.


The African Swine Fever Task Force, based out of S&T’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), was formed to address the situation.


“There is no vaccine,” S&T PIADC Director Larry Barrett said. “In addition to killing most infected pigs, African Swine Fever also gets into the background in ticks and is very difficult to eradicate. We put together the Task Force to tackle, over the next three years, this new threat for our swine industry. The primary focus is to improve diagnostics and vaccines, so pork producers can protect their animals in the future.”


Last month, with the help of U.S. Department of Agriculture-trained beagles, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 1 million pounds of illegal products containing smuggled pork from China at the Port of New York and New Jersey, where the government destroyed the entire seizure.


“The first step toward a vaccine is...