China will test African swine fever vaccine on 10,000–20,000 pigs to ensure it won’t spread virus

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Scientists spreading virus that killed Piglets in China x
Credit: Week Facts

Researchers in China have developed an experimental vaccine that can protect pigs for life from a lethal virus that has decimated its pig population …. over the past 18 months. But …. the team still need to carry out clinical trials and large-scale vaccine production.

“A vaccine is desperately needed for the resumption of pig production in China,” says Bu Zhigao, a virologist at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China.

China …. has suffered huge economic losses as a result of the virus — China’s pig population of more than 440 million has been reduced by 40% since the virus first appeared …. in August 2018 — although the outbreak seems to be under control now, says Bu.

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The team’s vaccine approach was to use a live virus and make it less harmful. Pigs exposed to these live attenuated viruses are expected to mount an immune response that protects them from the wild, deadly strain.

The risk with live attenuated vaccines, however, is that they can sometimes mutate into more deadly strains …. To ensure safety, the Chinese group conducted tests that have not previously been carried out for experimental live attenuated swine fever vaccines …. But before launching a vaccine, his team will run a clinical trial, which will involve some 10,000–20,000 pigs.

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