Vietnam researching into incurable swine fever to develop vaccine

By Vo Hai   March 26, 2019 | 10:48 pm PT
Vietnam researching into incurable swine fever to develop vaccine
A response team from Hanoi's animal health department cleans up a pigsty during an African swine fever drill in March 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Vietnam is trying to develop a vaccine against African swine fever, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said Tuesday.

"The disease has existed for nearly a century but the world has yet to develop a vaccine [for it]. To ensure the stable development of Vietnam’s farming sector in the long run, the Ministries of Agriculture, Science and Technology and Health are researching to produce a vaccine."

But it is not possible to prevent the epidemic immediately in Vietnam and long-term plan is required for that, he said.

A national steering committee to prevent the disease’s spread has been set up with 11 ministries and departments in it, and it will devise solutions to protect the country’s pigs and encourage people not to stop consuming pork.

The country is also developing a biological safety model in which the raising and distribution of cattle are done within a closed system, Cuong said.

African swine fever has spread to 440 communes in 21 cities and provinces, including the capital Hanoi and the port city of Hai Phong, with around 65,000 infected pigs culled so far.

The viral disease infects all pig species through bodily fluids such as blood and mucus, causing hemorrhagic fever. There is currently no cure for it. However, humans are unaffected.

Twenty countries and territories have reported outbreaks of the disease since 2017 and over one million pigs have been put down, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. Vietnam is the third country in Asia to be hit by the disease after China and Mongolia.

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