Two new ASF variants found in China, not as deadly
Two more variants of African swine fever have been detected in China. Researchers say that they are not as deadly as the strain which nearly cut the country’s hog population in half, but diagnosis is more difficult.
That is because it infects their blood stream which scientist say could cause more problems and bigger challenges to eradicate the disease from China.
In the U.S., research is underway to prevent ASF from spreading fast should it reach our shores.
Kansas State University is working on a plan to increase detection capacity and validate the best options for eliminating the virus as quickly as possible. Researchers are looking for new tools and protocols which can be implemented on the farm.
The lead researchers says that shortening the time when the first infection is found to when the farm is ready to repopulate would reduce the economic impact on pork producers.
Vaccines for ASF have been in the works for several years.
One veterinarian says that they have seen promising progress from a couple of candidates, but “vaccine acceptance” may be a bigger hurdle. Once a vaccine is proven, it does not necessarily mean producers will want to use it, or even be allowed to.
Dr. Clayton Johnson with Carthage Veterinary Services says that he does not see a vaccine becoming available in the next year.