China Isn’t Even Close to Swine Fever Cure as Virus Resurfaces

China is still conducing clinical trials on a vaccine to combat African swine fever, with no timeline on when commercial production can begin, according to a top researcher.

Scientists at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute will collect more data from the trials for further review by authorities, Qiu Huaji, the head of swine infectious diseases at the center, told an online conference late Wednesday.

Fresh outbreaks in parts of China this winter have added impetus to develop a vaccine to curb the disease, which wiped out almost half of the country’s pig population since it surfaced in 2018. The latest spread sparked concern that a full recovery may be delayed beyond 2021 instead of June as forecast by the farm ministry.

“There’s still a long way to go in terms of recovery,” Qiu said. He expects China’s pork prices to stay elevated for two to three years amid a shortage.

Since April, clinical trials of the vaccine have been carried out in breeding bases across Heilongjiang, Henan and Xinjiang. No clinical abnormalities or adverse effects were found on the growth and reproduction among vaccinated pigs, China’s agriculture ministry said in a report in August.

The government on Thursday said it will promote the research and development of African swine fever vaccine “in a steady and orderly manner,” while pledging to crack down on the illegal production and use of vaccines.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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