Urgency grows for swine vaccine

Taking precautions: White disinfectant powder is scattered on the ground around buildings at a pig farm in Jiangjiaqiao village in Hebei province. — AP

BEIJING: Scientists are working to develop a vaccine to help guard the world’s pork supply as a deadly virus ravages Asia’s pig herds.

Farmers have long contained its spread by quarantining and killing infected animals, but the disease’s devastating march into East Asia is intensifying the search for another solution.

The virus hadn’t been considered as high a priority for experts until it turned up last year in China, home to half the world’s pig population.

Since then, it has spread to other Asian countries including Vietnam, killing millions of pigs along the way. Though it does not sicken people, the disease is highly contagious and deadly to pigs.

“Today’s situation, where you have this global threat, puts a lot more emphasis on this research,” said Dr Luis Rodriguez, who leads the US government lab on foreign animal diseases at Plum Island, New York.

One way to develop a vaccine is to kill a virus before injecting it into an animal. The disabled virus will prompt the animal’s immune system to identify the virus and produce antibodies against it.

This approach, however, isn’t consistently effective with all viruses, including the one that causes African swine fever.

It’s why scientists have been working on another type of vaccine, made from a weakened virus rather than a dead one.

The Chinese government indicated scientists are working on a vaccine that genetically alters the virus, an approach US scientists have been pursuing as well.

The US Department of Agriculture said it recently signed an agreement with a vaccine manufacturer to further research and develop one of Plum Island’s three vaccine candidates.

The candidates were made by genetically modifying the virus to delete certain genes. — AP
Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

vaccine , swine flu


Next In Regional

Malaysia will not send pilgrims for haj this year
Cambodia begins evicting floating homes amid protests
Italian police arrest man allegedly involved in Vietnamese truck deaths
Proposed national operations council will not replace the government, says Dr M
Bitcoin falls 5.71% To $35,210
Covid-19: Record number of recoveries with 8,334 discharged, cases down to 5,793
Almost 1.3 million Malaysians fully vaccinated so far, says Dr Adham
Govt to provide fuel, cooking oil subsidies of up to RM8bil this year
India's daily COVID-19 infections at more than two-month low
CPO futures likely to experience technical correction next week

Stories You'll Enjoy