A Vaccine Against African Swine Fever 

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This session was moderated by Count Dr. Torsten Mörner, Associate Professor of Wildlife Diseases at the University of Agricultural Sciences (Uppsala) and Vice President of the CIC, who provided context by giving an overview of African Swine Fever and its impacts in Europe.

He noted that the virus is extremely resistant, including to prohibitive conditions such as low temperatures, and can be carried in sausages or cured meat, which easily leads to the spread of the disease. Tics were listed as another source of contamination.

After illustrating hunter involvement and other measures used to combat the disease, it was concluded that based on the Swedish experience, African Swine Fever can be eradicated, but that rolling out a vaccine would be much easier.

Dr. Árpád Sárkány, Vice President of the CIC, added further context describing the effects of the African Swine Fever as a true catastrophe. In search of a solution, he outlined the funding put towards a vaccine for wild boar populations. This resulted in the introduction of four fenced hunting areas in Hungary – with the support of the Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary Zsolt Semjén – which facilitated research on how the vaccine impacts large populations of wild boar.

Presenting this research as its lead researcher was Dr. José Manuel Sánchez-Vizcaíno Rodríguez, Emerit Professor of the Department of Animal Health of the Veterinary School of the Complutense University of Madrid. As part of his presentation, he unveiled the results of vaccine trials for the very first time to delegates in Cascais.

The results showed that they are very close to having the vaccine on the market, with certain technological and philosophical conditions needed to make it possible. The difficulties in obtaining the vaccines were outlined as well as the strategy implemented, such as the lab conditions, the evaluation of the potential shedding and field trials. He received a standing ovation from the crowd for his work.