K-State research extending work to halt spread of African swine fever

Goals include developing strategies for prevention, broadening detection and validating best practices.

 

National Hog Farmer

Nov 16, 2021

 

Megan Niederwerder, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, will lead a new $513,000 research project to characterize African swine fever (ASF) virus survival and transmission after introduction onto a farm. She will serve as the principal investigator on the two-year grant award from the National Pork Board and the state of Kansas National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Fund.

 

Niederwerder's research focuses on preventing the deadly swine virus from reaching the U.S. This includes determining the risk and mitigation of potential virus introduction routes, such as imported feed ingredients through which the virus could be transmitted to domestic pigs. The new grant award extends this work into virus preparedness. Data generated in her laboratory will help improve the response to virus detection in the U.S.

 

"While our primary goal is to prevent African swine fever virus introduction into the U.S., we have to be prepared for a swift and effective response should the virus ever enter our country," Niederwerder said. "Goals of the ongoing African swine fever virus research in my laboratory are not only to develop strategies for prevention, but to also broaden detection capacity and validate best practices for elimination."

 

Over the last decade, ASF has spread at an unprecedented rate to new countries and regions. In the last few months, the virus was detected in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, becoming the first confirmed cases of the virus in the Western Hemisphere in almost 40 years. As the virus spreads closer to the U.S., it is critical that the nation continues to invest in prevention and preparedness, Niederwerder said...

 

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