January 15, 2019

Boehringer Ingelheim launches tool to aid in prevention of African swine fever


Boehringer Ingelheim had developed ASF COMBAT (ASF Comprehensive Online Management and Biosecurity Assessment Tool), a tool that enables pig producers to evaluate areas for biosecurity improvement at their farms , the company announced last month.

The process is conducted by completing a short questionnaire based on African swine fever (ASF) scientific literature and practical experience, intended to help reduce the ASF introduction risk level.

On a daily basis, pig farms are facing multiple types of biosecurity risks, but some of them remain unnoticed. If a farm is located in an ASF affected area, the risk of new virus introduction increases but all farms need to be prepared and understand the risks they face, Boehringer Ingelheim said.

In order to be able to reduce the risk of ASF virus introductions and increase disease resilience, management and pig flow become even more crucial, the company added.

With ASF COMBAT, improved biosecurity, pig flow, management and feeding practices are facilitated by highlighting the most important risk areas related to ASF introduction, which the tool evaluates. These areas include animals (the ASF virus spreads through direct contact; live animals can carry the virus); transport (vehicles that have carried infected pigs can be a risk to other farms because the ASF virus is highly resistant in the environment); people (how farm staff behaves can affect the risk profile of the farm); management (the daily routines on the farm are critical in the prevention of ASF entering the herd); feeding  (the ASF virus can stay infective in kitchen scraps, catering waste or food leftovers contaminated with infected pork); and location (proximity to infected swine, wild boar can pose serious risk that need to be understood).

The purpose of the ASF COMBAT tool is to assist in identifying potential areas for improvement, but it is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian or health authorities, Boehringer Ingelheim explained.

"This app is another example of our commitment to focus on prevention and to continue developing as well as offering new innovative solutions and tools to help control swine diseases," said Dr. Oliver Gomez-Duran, the company's head of technical (strategic business unit swine).

- Boehringer Ingelheim