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How was African Swine Fever discovered in Vietnam?

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The scientists who discovered the presence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Vietnam work at the Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology at the Vietnam Academy of Agriculture.

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The discovery began last month. It was quiet at the academy on February 1 as the Tet holiday began. Dr Le Van Phan was tidying up the laboratory before leaving when the phone rang. 

The caller was Vu, a former student of the Veterinary Faculty. He had sent a serum sample from his pig farm in Hung Yen province for testing of blue-ear or pig cholera viruses.

However, the tests were negative. Phan decided to test for the ASF virus with PCR and Realtime PCR methods, and got a positive result. 

Further tests and P54 & P72 gene decoding confirmed that the virus that caused the outbreak in Hung Yen belonged to Genotype II, which was 100 percent homogenous in nucleotide and amino acid sequences when compared with the circulating virus that causes ASF among Chinese pigs.

The experiments were carried out during Tet and the results were updated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

According to OIE (the World Organization for Animal Health), ASF is a dangerous infectious disease caused by a virus which can occur with pigs of different kinds and of all ages with the high mortality rate of 100 percent.

Currently, there is no effective vaccine against ASF and no cure, so it is important to detect the virus and zone the infected farm areas.

In Vietnam, after August 1, 2018, when China announced that ASF had occurred, ministries prepared scenarios to cope with it. Phan’s laboratory prepared the workforce for monitoring and research. 

Though there was no budget allocated to the testing of ASF, Phan carried out tests, free of charge, on all pig samples with clinical symptoms suspected of ASF.

MARD (the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) has recently said that the costs of the tests for ASF will be paid by the state.

Scientists said following the discovery of the ASF virus Vietnam should conduct further research to have a complete and accurate understanding of the disease as well as the ASF virus type in Vietnam.

The gene sequencing found that the virus type that caused ASF in Vietnam belongs to genotype II. However, ASF is  an unfamiliar disease in Vietnam and scientists do not have accurate information about it.

However, scientists are facing difficulties continuing their research on ASF.

“The veterinary faculty still doesn’t have standard animal house and a third-class laboratory,” Phan said.


Source:  VietNamNet

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