Health Watch: WOAH warns against “poor quality” ASFV vaccines
Many in the livestock world are watching the global developments of zoonotic diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI, known commonly as bird flu) and African swine fever virus (ASFV or ASF). Although ASFV has not yet touched down in North America, its continued spread in other continents has had significant negative impacts on the swine industries of other nations. Outbreaks in Italy and Hong Kong have resulted in the combined culling of thousands of pigs this fall.
For years, the lack of vaccine has made control of the disease challenging. The global research community has worked to develop effective vaccines to contain the current epidemic, with candidate vaccines currently being in testing or approval stages.
Recently, the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) has issued a publication stressing the importance of only using high-quality ASF vaccines with “proven efficacy and safety, and which have been subjected to regulatory evaluation and approval” in accordance with its international standards.
“The use of non-compliant and poor-quality vaccines may not confer any protection against ASF and risks spreading vaccine viruses that could result in acute or chronic disease. Additionally, these vaccine viruses could also recombine with field strains to generate novel strains that could evade detection and result in acute, chronic and persistent ASF infections on farms,” the WOAH wrote.
The organization also emphasized that vaccination should not be used as a standalone intervention.
In the memo, WOAH neither publicly endorsed nor disavowed any current vaccine candidates, but urged vaccine manufacturers and members to consider its draft standards published in September 2023 for evaluating their vaccine candidates.
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