Vietnam becomes 1st country to make African swine fever vaccine

By Pham Chieu   June 1, 2022 | 07:00 pm PT
Vietnam becomes 1st country to make African swine fever vaccine
Pigs seen at a farm in northern Phu Tho Province. Photo by VnExpress/Doan Trung
Vietnam has become the first country to produce a vaccine for African swine fever, the agriculture ministry said.

Phung Duc Tien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said on Wednesday his ministry would make an official announcement on Friday and approve the vaccine for distribution.

The vaccine is called NAVET-ASFVAC, and is produced by the Navetco National Veterinary company (Navetco), he said.

African swine fever, first detected in Africa in 1921, is fatal to pigs, he said.

Over 4,000 research projects related to the disease and vaccine development have been announced, but no commercial vaccine has been available so far.

Vietnam began working on producing a vaccine in 2020 with the help of American experts. Following five lab trials, the vaccine has proved to be able to protect at least 80 percent of immunized pigs, which retain immunity for six months.

The ministry enlisted several scientific councils and scientists to evaluate its effectiveness.

This month, in a letter sent to the Department of Animal Health, the U.S. Agriculture Research Service said the vaccine is "safe and effective."

Since it is a new vaccine, it will first be sold on a small scale and given to around 600,000 pigs aged between eight and 10 weeks. Following an evaluation, the Department of Animal Health will apprise the ministry about the results so that it can be distributed nationwide.

Tran Xuan Hanh, deputy director of Navetco, said the vaccine would cost VND34,000-36,000 ($1.47-1.55) per dose.

Navetco has already received a request for the vaccine from the Dominican Republic, which is grappling with an outbreak of African swine fever, he added.

An African swine fever outbreak in Vietnam in 2019 eventually spread to all 63 localities within a span of seven months.

In 2021 it was found in 60 localities, causing 288,660 pigs to be culled.

The disease has cost Vietnam over VND30 trillion ($1.29 billion) in losses, and affected 3.5 million farmers and hundreds of businesses.

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