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A vaccine against African swine fever

The research proposals will address the necessary steps for developing safe vaccines against ASF for domestic pigs and wild boars. Proposals should build on past or ongoing EU funded research and on current knowledge of the characteristics of the viruses and research gaps, with the overall purpose of developing pilot vaccines and their companion DIVA test. Activities should address vaccination as part of a control strategy in different scenarios and should consider the potential impact on animal production and trade. Particular focus should be put on the European situation and the role of wild boars in the spread of the disease, so the proposals should address at least the ASF viruses circulating in Europe, and may also cover all or the most relevant exotic ones. Wild fauna other than wild boars, that are involved in the epidemiology and for which vaccination may help control the disease, may also be addressed. Participation by non-EU regions particularly affected by ASF is recommended.

The selected project should take into consideration the EU animal health regulatory framework, and follow the policies and contribute to the objectives of the STAR-IDAZ international research consortium[[]].

Proposals should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'[[See definition of the 'multi-actor approach' in the introduction to this Work Programme part.]] and be based on the active participation of stakeholders from research, animal health authorities and the farming and business sectors. Involvement of the pharmaceutical industry is highly recommended.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating viral disease of swine which is endemic in Africa and has been present in Europe for several years, after its introduction from Trans-Caucasian countries. It is a transmissible disease that has the potential for very serious and rapid spread, irrespective of national borders. It has a serious socio-economic impact on farming sector and is of major importance in the international trade of animals and animal products. While in the EU, strict control measures including in particular biosecurity, culling of infected pigs, killing of wild-boars, have so far managed to contain the spread of the disease, restrictions on farming and trade remain. The threat is permanent (including incursion of exotic strains from endemic countries) and concerns are raised on the possibility to eradicate the disease without vaccination.

No vaccine is currently available and the development of effective and safe ASF vaccines is urgent as an additional tool to re-inforce control and eradication strategies currently in place. For details of potential strategies and possible research steps for vaccine development, see the blueprint and roadmap[[]] produced by the EU Reference Laboratory for ASF.

  • Pilot ASF vaccines and their companion DIVA tests for the possible prevention and/or eradication of the disease in domestic pigs and wild boars, at target TRL 5-6;
  • Contribution to international cooperation on animal health research, potentially reducing the threats from the introduction of exotic ASF virus strains in the EU and reducing the burden of ASF in countries outside the EU.

More generally, the selected project will contribute to a reduction of economic losses by the farming sectors and contribute to healthy livestock production. It will contribute to reduce the sanitary barriers to trade in swine and products therefrom.