Vietnam announces world’s first African swine fever vaccine

The Vietnamese Government has announced that the country has successfully developed an African swine fever (ASF) vaccine and intends to become the first country to commercially produce and export it.

The vaccine has been in development since November 2019 in partnership with United States experts, with five clinical trials held, according to Reuters. Its safety and efficacy was confirmed by the Agricultural Research Service under the US Department of Agriculture, the country’s deputy agriculture minister Phung Duc Tien said.

He described it as a ‘milestone of the veterinary industry’. “With immunity lasting six months, the vaccine will be a shield for hog-raising industry and pig production globally. This success opens great expectations and the room to export African swine fever vaccine produced in Vietnam is huge,” Mr Tien said

The vaccine has been developed by the Avac Vietnam Company Limited (AVAC Co.). “Creating a vaccine against African swine fever (ASF) is a difficult matter not only for Vietnam but also the whole world. And so, the discovery of a vaccine is an affirmation of wisdom and valor of the Vietnamese veterinary force”, said Mr Tien said at the concluding session of the meeting on May 30 about the registration dossier for the vaccine.

However, Mr Tien noted that AVAC needed to further perfect its documents, research methods, and most importantly, the comments of scientists during the meeting before officially releasing this vaccine, according to a report on the meeting by VietReader.

According to the Central Veterinary Diagnostic Center, the vaccination trial was carried out at four pig farms with a herd size of 300 to 20,000 heads, including both pigs and sows.

The attenuated AVAC ASF LIVE vaccine contained a live attenuated virus strain produced on a cell medium and was administered according to the manufacturer’s recommendations with one dose for every tested pig.

Five pigs taken at random from each trial farm received ‘strong virus attacks’ on day 28 after vaccination, with five unvaccinated pigs used as controls.

The control pigs showed clinical symptoms on two to three days after infection, including high fever, red and hot skin, decreased appetite and a loss of appetite. All pigs died on the sixth day.

The pigs vaccinated with AVAC ASF LIVE showed mild clinical signs after being infected with the virulent ASF virus. Most of the clinical conditions were mild, only fever and a decrease in appetite for a few days, then the pigs quickly recovered to normal.

Fever appeared in some, but not all pigs during the entire follow-up period, with some cases of repeated fever.

In the report of the results, the Central Veterinary Diagnostic Center said that only one vaccinated pig died after being injected with the virus. This pig died on the 8th day after the strong virus attacks. The clinical manifestations and lesions were typical of ASF, similar to the control pigs. \

All remaining vaccinated pigs, a total of 19, had some mild clinical symptoms but all recovered and survived after the 21 days of follow-up.

The Central Veterinary Diagnostic Center concluded: “100% of control pigs (5 pigs) that were not vaccinated all died within nine days of being infected with the virulent ASF virus. Vaccinated pigs had an average survival rate of 95% (19/20 pigs). AVAC ASF LIVE vaccine was deemed to have a protective effect on vaccinated pigs.”

Vietnam suffered a major ASF outbreak, as the virus spread across Asia, although the situation has now improved in the country. The virus continues to affect domestic and wild pigs around the world, including many European countries.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.