The Department of Agriculture (USDA) Thursday announced that an African Swine Fever Virus vaccine candidate has been adapted to grow in a cell line. The announcement means those involved in vaccine production will no longer have to rely on live pigs and fresh cells for vaccine production. The discovery overcomes one of the major challenges for manufacturing of an African Swine Fever Virus vaccine. The newly developed vaccine, grown in a continuous cell line — which means immortalized cells that divide continuously or otherwise indefinitely — has the same characteristics as the original vaccine produced with fresh swine cells.
USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist Manuel Broca says, “This opens the door for large-scale vaccine production.” No commercial vaccines are currently available to prevent the virus from spreading. There have not been any outbreaks in the United States, but it is estimated that a national outbreak could cost at least $14 billion over two years, and $50 billion over ten years.