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Research Project: Evaluation of the Modification of Virulence in Recombinant ASFV with Specific Gene Deletions

Location: Foreign Animal Disease Research

Project Number: 3022-32000-063-026-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2021
End Date: May 31, 2024

ARS, Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) researchers have started a systematic study of the function of African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) genes that have not been previously characterized. To do so, PIADC researchers selected genes of interest based in functional genomic criteria and/or the experimental evidence of the interaction between the virus gene products and host proteins. To complete the gene characterization, ARS scientists have developed a series of recombinant ASFV where a virus gene has been specifically deleted from the genome of the virulent ASFV isolate Georgia 2010. The effect of such gene deletions in virus replication and functionality in cell cultures have been already characterized at ARS, PIADC. Using this information candidate recombinant ASFV containing gene deletions were selected for further testing for the role in virulence in swine. This collaborative research project seeks to evaluate the virulence of recombinant ASFV with specific gene deletions.

1) Recombinant African Swine Fever Viruses (ASFV) harboring deletion of specific genes, already developed and in vitro characterized at ARS, PIADC, will be provided to the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) to be tested in swine. 2) These recombinant viruses will be inoculated in pigs and the presence of virus virulence evaluated during a 21 day observational period. 3) Clinical samples (blood and serum) will be taken at day 0, 4, 7, 11, 14 and 21 post infection. 4) Animals will be humanly euthanized if progress of the disease reaches a pre-determined level of severity. 5) Collected clinical samples will be sent to ARS, PIADC for their full processing to determine serological and biological profiles.