April 2, 2024


Pirbright Institute pursues cross-protection vaccines for ASF


In a bid to address the profound impact of African swine fever (ASF) on global food security, researchers at Pirbright Institute in the UK have secured funding from the Medical Research Council to evaluate the cross-protection potential of modified live vaccines against diverse ASF virus strains prevalent in Africa, National Hog Farmer reported.


ASF has wrought havoc on the global swine industry, inflicting substantial economic losses and jeopardising livelihoods, particularly in lower-income nations. The dire need for effective vaccines to combat the disease is pressing, with current vaccine efforts primarily focused on targeting the ASFV genotype II.


The research team has already developed a promising candidate for genotype II modified live vaccine (MLV), demonstrating robust protection against genotype II, partial protection against genotype I, but lacking efficacy against genotype IX. However, Africa witnesses the circulation of at least 24 genotypes.


To confront this challenge, the research will employ advanced methodologies to assess the efficacy of their vaccine against the diverse ASFV genotypes prevalent across Africa.


Anusyah Rathakrishnan, postdoctoral scientist in the African Swine Fever Virus group and project lead, said they have a promising ASFV genotype II MLV candidate, but they don't understand how it protects swine and why it confers protection against certain genotypes, but not others.


She said the grant will allow them to understand host responses that correlate with protection, potentially allowing them to predict cross protection of current vaccines against other circulating genotypes in Africa.


By enhancing comprehension of immune responses, the team aims to design more targeted experiments, minimising the need for costly and unnecessary animal trials.


-      National Hog Farmer

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