By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Philippine government has expressed its willingness to join international field trials for the vaccine being developed by animal research institute in United Kingdom versus the deadly swine disease African Swine Fever (ASF).
In a statement, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it “is looking forward to collaborate and take part in the field trials of the prospective ASF vaccine developed once available”.
This, as scientists from The Pirbright Institute saw that 100 percent of pigs immunized with a vaccine they developed survived a lethal dose of the ASF virus.
To be specific, the Pirbright team has developed a vectored vaccine, which uses a non-harmful virus (the vector) to deliver eight strategically selected genes from the ASF virus genome into pig cells, a summary of the study showed.
Once inside the cell, the genes produce viral proteins which primes the pig immune cells to respond to an ASF infection.
“It is very encouraging to see that the genes we have selected are able to protect pigs against ASF. Although the pigs showed clinical signs of infection after challenge with the virus, our study has shown for the first time that a vectored vaccine against ASF is a realistic possibility,” Chris Netherton, Head of Pirbright’s ASF Vaccinology Group, said.
The research was funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
DA, for its part, said it will be closely collaborating with the research institution on this matter.
“We believe that this will provide first-hand information on the efficacy of the vaccine against the strain present in the Philippines,” the agency said.