May 11, 2021


Candidate ASF vaccine to be produced without using pig cells, USDA unit reveals


A candidate vaccine for African swine fever has been adapted to grow in a cell line, according to the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).


This means that vaccine researchers will no longer have to rely on live pigs and their fresh cells for vaccine production.


"This opens the door for large-scale vaccine production, which is a valuable tool for the possible eradication of the virus," said senior ARS scientist Dr. Manuel Borca.


This discovery, highlighted in the Journal of Virology, overcomes one of the major challenges for manufacturing of an ASF vaccine. The newly developed vaccine, grown in a continuous cell line - which means immortalised cells that divide continuously or otherwise indefinitely- has the same characteristics as the original vaccine produced with fresh swine cells.


"Traditionally, we used freshly isolated swine cells to produce vaccine candidates and this constitutes a significant limitation for large-scale production," said senior ARS scientist Dr. Douglas Gladue. "But now, we can retain the vaccine characteristics while simultaneously replicating the vaccine in lab-grown cell cultures. We no longer have to rely on gathering fresh cells from live swine."


The continuous cell line vaccine candidate was tested in a commercial breed of pigs and determined to be safe, protecting pigs against the virus.


No negative effects were observed.


- The Pig Site