Vietnam has successfully produced the world’s first commercially viable vaccine against African swine fever, one of the most devastating livestock diseases.
The country has partnered with scientists at the Agriculture Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture to develop the vaccine since November 2019, with five clinical trials conducted, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Phung Duc Tien said in an interview with local media.
He stated that his ministry will soon announce this achievement, and grant a circulation permit for the vaccine tomorrow [June 3], for both domestic use and export.
“This is a milestone in the veterinary industry. With immunity lasting six months, the vaccine will be a shield for the hog-raising industry and pig production globally,” Tien said.
He noted that although more than 4,000 studies related to the virus and vaccine development by scientists have been published, there has been no vaccine against the disease commercialized in the world so far.
Trial doses of NAVET-ASFVAC, a Vietnamese-made commercial vaccine against African swine fever. Photo: Duong Hung
Tien said the ministry has established scientific councils at many levels and organized meetings with leading scientists in Vietnam, managers, and producers of veterinary vaccines to carefully evaluate reports on scientific research results and registration dossiers for circulation of the African swine fever vaccine.
He stressed that the vaccine research and production results, after being thoroughly evaluated by independent scientists, have been accepted and published in the world and Vietnam's prestigious scientific journals.
On May 17, the Agricultural Research Institute under the US Department of Agriculture sent an official letter to the Department of Animal Health of Vietnam, confirming the vaccine ensures safety and effectiveness.
“This success opens up great expectations and the room to export made-in-Vietnam African swine fever vaccine is huge,” the deputy minister noted.
The vaccine was branded NAVET-ASFVAC and is produced by NAVETCO National Veterinary Joint Stock Company.
Tran Xuan Hanh, deputy director of NAVETCO said that the vaccine price would be in the range of VND34,000 and VND 36,000 (US$1.36-1.55) per dose, equivalent to the vaccine against blue ear disease.
NAVETCO has already received an order for the vaccine from the Dominican Republic, which is grappling with an outbreak of African swine fever, Hanh added.
He added that following five lab trials, the vaccine has proved to be able to protect at least 80% of immunized pigs, which retain immunity for six months.
African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease among domestic and wild pigs and can be 100% lethal to animals. Its symptoms include high fever, loss of appetite, and bleeding on the skin and internal organs.
Not a danger to human health, yet it has devastating effects on pig populations and the farming economy.
African swine fever was first detected in Vietnam in February 2019 and forced the country to cull around 20% of its pig herd last year.
It was first found in Africa in 1921 before spreading to Europe and Asia and has killed hundreds of millions of pigs globally.