1. Home
  2. Agriculture World

Vietnam Inches Closer to Approval of World's 1st Vaccine Against Devastating Swine Fever

The potential approval of these vaccines and their subsequent availability for commercial use could have far-reaching implications for the global pork industry.

KJ Staff
Vietnam Inches Closer to Approval of World's 1st Vaccine Against Devastating Swine Fever (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Vietnam Inches Closer to Approval of World's 1st Vaccine Against Devastating Swine Fever (Photo Source: Pixabay)

Efforts to combat African swine fever, a deadly disease that has wreaked havoc on pig farms worldwide, may soon receive a significant boost as vaccines currently undergoing testing in Vietnam are close to approval. Global and U.S. veterinary officials have expressed optimism about the potential breakthrough in tackling this devastating animal disease, which has disrupted the USD 250 billion global pork market for several years.

The outbreak of African swine fever in 2018-2019 had a severe impact on China, the largest pork producer globally, leading to the deaths of approximately half of its domestic pig population. The losses incurred were estimated to be over USD 100 billion, underscoring the urgent need for effective countermeasures.

According to Gregorio Torres, head of the science department at the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), two vaccines co-developed by U.S. scientists and currently being tested in large-scale pilot programs by Vietnamese companies have shown "very promising" results. In a telephone interview with Reuters, Torres stated that these vaccines represent the closest the scientific community has come to finding a viable solution to African swine fever. He further noted that these two vaccines have the highest chances of success and could potentially receive authorization for global sale.

Both vaccines have already obtained approval in Vietnam for pilot commercial use, with the completion of these initial trials. The next crucial step will be obtaining nationwide authorization, marking a significant milestone as the first-ever approval for an African swine fever vaccine. Additionally, the possibility of overseas sales is being considered.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has played a crucial role in the development of one of the vaccines, NAVET-ASFVAC, in collaboration with Vietnamese company NAVETCO (VET.HNO). A spokesperson from the USDA revealed that researchers have reviewed the vaccine's trial results. Following successful trials with a high level of efficacy and no safety risks, 600,000 doses of NAVET-ASFVAC have been approved for initial sales to pig farmers in Vietnam. The USDA confirmed that the first 40,000 doses have been delivered without any safety issues.

Despite a temporary suspension last summer when several pigs died after being inoculated off-label, the vaccine's use resumed after implementing proper veterinary monitoring. NAVET-ASFVAC is an attenuated live-virus vaccine, similar to those used in routine vaccinations for children worldwide. The incident highlighted the importance of responsible administration and raised concerns about the use of unlicensed live-virus vaccines in China, which may have contributed to the emergence of new strains of swine fever.

The second vaccine being tested in Vietnam, AVAC ASF LIVE, was discovered by U.S. researchers and is now being commercialized by Vietnamese firm AVAC. Although AVAC ASF LIVE has been deployed to a larger number of pigs than NAVET-ASFVAC under the pilot program, the USDA has not yet reviewed the data for this vaccine.

Efforts to obtain comments from NAVETCO, AVAC, and Vietnam's agriculture ministry, responsible for veterinary vaccine approvals, were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

Take a Quiz on Green Revolution Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters