African swine fever (ASF) in EU member states is currently confined to Italy (Sardinia) but it is highly prevalent in sub-Saharan African countries. In both the EC and Africa changes in the epidemiology of the disease have recently been observed, related to newly emerging strains of ASFV, emphasising the serious threat this disease represents to the growing pig farming sector in Africa and Europe. This project will provide new tools and strategies for the control of ASF in Africa and reduce the risk of importation and/or spread of the disease in EU member states The project will evaluate the current ASFepidemiology in Africa, develop and validate a generic risk assessment for the introduction of ASF into EU countries and subsequent control strategies.
The project will also develop and validate new antibody and nucleic acid-based diagnostic tools for ASF, including front line and pen-side tests, which will be supplied to diagnostic facilities in Africa and the Animal Health Laboratories in the EU for the early detection of potential ASFV incursions, in particular by the newly emerging strains.
Additionally the project will study the interaction of ASFV and host genes following experimental infection with a view to obtaining attenuated recombinant virus strains that may be potential future candidates for a vaccine and the characterization of pig immune mechanisms relevant for survival following infection with ASFV. The new strategies and the tools developed within this project will be transferred to African partners, and other interested countries, and established in these countries
through local training/workshops and technology transfer.