Pirbright makes ASFV breakthrough

Scientists have identified proteins that activate pig immune cells, opening the way to developing an effective vaccine for African swine fever.

Scientists at The Pirbright Institute have identified African swine fever virus (ASFV) proteins that can trigger an immune response in pigs.

The team hopes to develop a vaccine using these proteins that is capable of protecting against the deadly pig disease.

Virulent strain

Published in Frontiers in Immunology, the study shows that when some pigs were challenged with a virulent strain of ASF after receiving a vaccine that included the identified proteins, the level of virus in the blood was reduced.

This demonstrates that this method of vaccination could provide effective protection to pigs, though further work is needed.


Chris Netherton, head of the ASF vaccinology group at Pirbright, said: “ASFV has more than 150 proteins; understanding which of these triggers an immune response is difficult, but crucial for creating this kind of vaccine.

“Now we have identified proteins that activate pig immune cells, we can work on optimising the vaccine components to ensure pigs are protected against virulent ASF strains.”