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Development of a vaccine against African Swine Fever and knowledge increase of the virus

Species: All wild pig species


Location: Germany


Start date: October 2023


Major partners: Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI), Germany; European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA); European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV); IUCN SSC Wild Pig Specialist Group


Summary: African Swine Fever (ASF) has negatively impacted the wild pigs populations in the Asia-Pacific region since 2018, which has already resulted in the steep population declines in several species. This disease poses a significant threat to in-situ and ex-situ populations of already endangered Asian wild pigs, while African wild pigs are not impacted. The disease also impacts the ecosystem, considering the role pigs have in the environment. Besides that, the loss of wild pig populations affects food security for many indigenous communities and local livelihoods. With this consideration, a step to develop a vaccine or treatment is important. A collaboration is established to undertake this task. This unique collaboration aims to develop a vaccine or treatment with zoos taking a critical role in supporting the research. In specific, the European zoo association EAZA sends each six individuals of red river hogs (Potamochoerus porcus) and common warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus) to the FLI where they are infected with the virus in parallel to also infected domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) and European wild boar (Sus scrofa), many samples are taken and shared to increase the knowledge of the disease’s development. While African species do not get sick, domestic pigs and European wild boar die within a short time. The improved knowledge hopefully will be one step towards oral vaccinations that can also be applied to wild pigs in their natural habitat, in order to safe vulnerable populations and even species from extinction.


WPSG Member contact: Jörg Beckmann (Joerg.Beckmann@stadt.nuernberg.de)

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