Saskatchewan lab to work on African swine fever vaccine

A University of Saskatchewan lab is now home to the deadly virus wreaking havoc in Asia and parts of Europe, all to support Canada’s preparedness strategy for African swine fever.

In partnership with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) located in the U of S will work with African swine fever (ASF). This is the first time the fast-spreading virus will be held in a non-government facility.

“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 Dr. Jaspinder Komal, chief veterinary officer for Canada.

The research will be conducted within VIDO-InterVac’s Level 3-Agriculture (CL3-Ag) facility in Saskatoon. The development and testing of vaccines and antivirals for ASF is a big step towards protecting Canada’s pork sector, as there are currently no vaccines or treatments approved for use against ASF.

“CFIA’s support increases Canada’s international contribution to combat the spread of ASF,” says Dr. Volker Gerdts, director of VIDO-InterVac. “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.”

The centre has developed several new vaccines for animal diseases that include porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, and the contagious bovine pleuropneumonia.

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