Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Research Project #440732

Research Project: African Swine Fever Collaborative Agreement

Location: Research Programs

Project Number: 3022-32000-018-003-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2021
End Date: Jul 31, 2025

African swine fever (ASF) is a contagious and often fatal viral disease of swine. ASF has a devastating effect on animal health and welfare, food security and rural development worldwide. The disease has a huge impact on the supply of pigs and pork products globally, along with knock-on effects on other sectors such as the pharmaceutical and the grain and feed industry. The lack of an effective vaccine and knowledge gaps in several critical areas including harmonized data on genomic sequencing of the ASF virus are impediments to the control of ASF that need to be addressed through coordinated research and development programs. The goal of this agreement is to establish a collaborative partnership between the Cooperator and ARS aimed at facilitating the advancement of effective African swine fever countermeasures. Specific objectives include: 1) Facilitating the creation of adequate, internationally acceptable guidelines for the manufacturing and development of safe and effective ASF vaccines 2) Facilitating the exchange of information around the genetics of circulating epidemic strains for ASF virus.

Objective 1) This proposal is aimed at gathering international scientific subject matter experts to work together in the development of draft guidelines for vaccine manufacturing, quality control, as well as clinical evaluation of ASF vaccines. These guidelines would be published and could serve as the basis for the future development of international standards by OIE. The goal is to provide sufficient scientific evidence and consensus within the scientific community for the Biological Standards Commission update the ASF chapter in the Terrestrial Manual to include vaccine manufacturing and evaluation standards. Objective 2) We will establish the basis for an international ASFV genomics platform, including an easy submission procedure to acquire all available full-length genomic sequences of ASFVs. This platform will first receive, coordinate, curate and make available genomic sequences submitted from laboratories worldwide, and allow users to browse these sequences or compare proteins within these sequences. The platform will provide an automated bioinformatic pipeline standardizing the annotation and quality control for raw Next-generation sequencing data. Many laboratories have Next-generation facilities but do not have the ability to assemble large genomes like ASFV. The platform will standardize and give quality parameters to specific sequences within each ASFV genome. The platform, could be built in existing similar platforms. It would provide a standardized trustable ASFV genomic sequence for all data submitted to perform accurate studies on epidemiology, functional genomics, molecular virology/vaccinology. Access to the data will be governed by Database Access Agreement and in line with the Nagoya protocol. Users will require to acknowledge those who submitted the data in their publications and to make best efforts to work collaboratively with data contributors on scientific publications.