African swine fever remains a significant threat
African swine fever is a highly contagious and deadly disease which affects pigs but it is not harmful to humans. There are currently efforts to contain and prevent the spread of ASF around the world.
National Pork Board Director of Swine Health, Dr. Lisa Becton says that this virus remains a significant threat.
“It’s a very complex virus which makes it hard to just create a quick vaccine,” she states. “There’s a lot of people including folks from the United States with the United States Department of Agriculture out at Plum Island that are using some different gene technologies to create a candidate for vaccine.”
Developing a vaccine that can cross-protect against all strains of the virus is not an easy feat.
According to Dr. Becton, “Recent candidates have shown the ability to reduce what is a big concern, that virus spread, and so, while they’re still candidates, there’s a lot of very good promise in some of the different types and technologies that are being developed today.”
However, there is one overriding priority.
“We’re continuing at Pork Checkoff to really focus on prevention and preparedness for ASF,” she adds. “We really would rather not need a vaccine because we’d like to prevent it from coming here all together, but we will be focused on it, just like we have this year into 2021 and want producers to know that there still will be a lot of work to trying to prevent any introduction of foreign animal diseases, with African swine fever included.”