The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has announced that the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre will work with African swine fever, further supporting Canada's preparedness strategy by increasing research capacity.
This complements ongoing collaborations between the CFIA and VIDO-InterVac aimed at developing and testing vaccines and antivirals for ASF — a deadly and fast-spreading viral disease that is killing millions of pigs worldwide and could devastate Canada's pork industry.
"With the spread of ASF in other parts of the world, the government of Canada is taking a leadership role to protect our pork industry, economy and Canadians' jobs. Supporting research towards an ASF vaccine is one of many ways that we are working to mitigate the global impact of ASF," says Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
In January, VIDO-InterVac will commence work with the ASF virus in its Containment Level 3-Agriculture facility in Saskatoon. VIDO-InterVac will be the first non-government facility in Canada to work with the ASF virus.
"Science plays an important role in the fight against ASF. Supporting VIDO-InterVac's vaccine research is a key step forward in stopping the progress of this deadly disease," says Jaspinder Komal, chief veterinary officer for Canada.
As there are currently no vaccines or treatments approved for use against this pig disease, this research is an important step toward the development and testing of vaccines and antivirals for ASF that could serve to protect Canada's pork sector.
"CFIA's support increases Canada's international contribution to combat the spread of ASF. This is a prime example of how this CL3-Ag infrastructure supports national priorities against emerging infectious disease and the development of solutions that mitigate their impact," says Volker Gerdts, VIDO-InterVac director.
VIDO-InterVac has already developed several new vaccines for animal diseases, including porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia.