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African swine fever: Improved tools for control - SE1515

African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating viral (ASFV) disease of domestic pigs which results in death of almost all infected pigs and causes high economic losses in affected countries. In 2007 the disease was restricted to sub-saharan Africa and Sardinia but in that year spread to Georgia in the Trans Caucasus region and from there to neighbouring countries including the Russian Federation. In Russia spread of ASF has been dramatic and the situation is now considered to be out of control, raising fears of further spread to other countries in particular the EU, Eastern Europe and China. Indeed the first introduction to Ukraine was reported in the summer of 2012.

This project aims to improve tools to control ASF by following three complimentary objectives. The first objective is to collect data on the effectiveness of transmission between infected and naive pigs within pens and between pens which share the same air space. Quantitative data on virus excretions and environmental contamination will also be gathered. The experiments will be carried out using a virus isolate from the Caucasus as strains from this region and Russia represent the greatest threat of spread to the EU. These experiments will provide information for modelling the spread of disease and thus help focus control measures effectively.

A vaccine is not available to protect pigs against ASF and this limits options for disease control. Our second objective will build on data from our previous project aimed at identifying those ASFV proteins which can induce a protective response in pigs. In our previous project we screened a wide pool of the more than 150 proteins ASFV codes for and identified 20 of those to focus on for vaccine development. In this project we will identify 5 proteins from these 20 which can induce protection. This smaller number of ASFV proteins could realistically be incorporated into a commercially produced vaccine.

The third objective focuses on methods for diagnosis of ASF. The initial confirmation of an outbreak of ASF will require isolation of the virus in cell culture. Currently there is no established cell line available for ASFV isolation and growth. Instead primary cells have to be prepared for this purpose directly from pigs. We have obtained, through collaboration, a pig macrophage cell line and have shown that these can be infected by ASFV. In this project we will further validate the use of this cell line for diagnosis and growth of ASFV by comparing infection and virus growth rates in the cell line to those obtained in primary cells. Use of this cell line would offer a major advantage in terms of consistency of results, ease of obtaining cells and avoiding the use of animals.
The overall objective of the project is to improve the tools available for control of African swine fever by completing three independent but complimentary objectives.
1 To obtain data on the effectiveness of different ASFV transmission routes for use in development of a disease transmission model.
2. To identify a pool of 5 ASFV antigens which induce protection in pigs for incorporation into virus vectored vaccines.
3. To validate the use of a pig macrophage cell line for virus isolation and diagnosis.
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : SE1515 Final Report 27.06.2018   (1916k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2017

Cost: £899,193
Contractor / Funded Organisations
IAH - Institute for Animal Health
African Swine Fever              
Animal Health              
Classical Swine Fever              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Animal Health