African Swine Fever (ASF) is a devastating disease affecting swine caused by a complex virus, the only member of the Asfarviridae family. Disease transmission is maintained under different and complex epidemiological scenarios involving domestic and wild swine and arthropod vectors (soft ticks Ornithodoros sp). Due to the fact that no vaccine has been obtained so far, prevention, control, and eradication of the disease is mainly based on the early detection and the implementation of strict sanitary measures.
The disease is endemic in Sub-Saharan countries of Africa and in EU member states is currently confined to Italy (Sardinia). Since 2007 ASF was declared in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and in the Russia Federation where continues spreading out of control, posing a serious threat to EU countries. This project will provide i) essential information to design more cost-effective surveillance and control strategies for ASF into different risk scenarios, ii) data essential to identify risk factors for designing new control strategies including wildlife considerations (role of wild boar and argasids) and iii) advance work leading to vaccine development through rational deletion of genes to produce attenuated and non-replicating candidate ASFV vaccine strains and identification of protective antigens and their incorporation into vectored virus vaccines.
Additionally the project will improve preparedness for ASF at different levels with workshops targeting pig
farmers, hunters, pig veterinarians and governmental agencies in EU and ASF affected countries. Knowledge and new technologies developed within the project will be disseminated through multiple information channels (publications, mass media, Internet). Outputs of this project will provide policy makers with valuable decision support tools to better prevent and control ASF.