July 29, 2020


USDA identifies new method to detect African swine fever


Scientists from the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have discovered a new commercially available cell line to detect live African swine fever (ASF) virus, USDA reported.


The new commercially available cell line minimises the need to obtain live animal samples and gives easier access to veterinary labs for diagnosing the virus.


ARS scientist Dr. Douglas Gladue said they have discovered the cell-line that can isolate and detect the presence of ASF virus, a big step in ASF virus diagnostics.

There are no available vaccines for ASF, with current measures to control outbreaks include quarantining and culling infected and exposed swine.

Before this discovery, detecting the ASF virus required live blood cells as the cells can only be tested once. The new cell line allows labs to continuously replicate and freeze the cells for future use, meaning that less live donor animals are required.

The new cell line is commercially available to veterinary diagnostic labs, which previously did not have live swine blood cells for testing the ASF virus.

The research was published in Viruses and funded by with the Science and Technology Directorate of the US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Energy and the USDA. Plum Island Animal Disease Center ARS scientists will continue their research on the ASF virus and finding ways to control its spread.

- US Department of Agriculture