The Department of Agriculture intends to grant an experimental license for an African swine fever vaccine. The intent was published in the Federal Register this week that USDA’s Agricultural Research Service intends to grant the license to a company in Bulgaria that manufactures and markets human and animal health products. Currently, there is no commercially available vaccine to protect swine from the deadline virus. Despite the work by the company in Bulgaria and others, National Pork Producers Council Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom told Reuters in February that researchers at USDA believe a vaccine is “a decade away.” Researchers in the European Union believe development of a vaccine may take 20 years. The threat of the disease spreading to the U.S. prompted the cancellation of the World Pork Expo this summer. Since its discovery in China in August 2018, Rabobank estimates that African swine fever has affected 150 million to 200 million pigs, which is nearly 30 percent larger than annual U.S. pork production and equivalent to Europe’s annual pork supply, according to the National Pork Board.
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