Another global epidemic is spreading-in pigs

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Disease outbreak Flower in China. How it appeared, far away from the eyes of any surveillance scientist, no one can fully explain. It spreads at an incredible speed, mass killings, freezing transportation and trade, and causing huge economic damage. Hitchhiking around the world, travel around the world. There is no cure and no vaccine. Inevitably, it will arrive in the Americas in July 2021.

Yes, in 2021. This year is not a typo.This outbreak is not Covid; it is a parallel, hidden epidemic, a deadly animal disease called African swine fever, which has been discovered July in the Dominican Republic. African swine fever poses no risk to humans, but its destructive power to livestock is staggering: millions of pigs have died in China, at least a quarter—and Maybe one-half-The entire herd of the world’s largest pork producer.

In the United States, animal health authorities are now on high alert.U.S. Department of Agriculture Commitment Emergency funding US$500 million is used to strengthen surveillance and prevent diseases from crossing national borders.African swine fever is so frightening internationally that if it is found in the United States, pork exports-value More than 7 billion U.S. dollars One year-will be closed immediately.

Michael Ward, an epidemiologist and chair of veterinary public health at the University of Sydney, told Wired magazine via email: “The long-distance transboundary transmission of highly infectious and pathogenic diseases is a worse situation.” In agriculture, it is similar to Covid-19.”

As at the beginning of the Covid pandemic, there is no vaccine-but as with Covid, since basic science has been formulating research results for years without receiving much attention, there is a silver lining.Two weeks ago, a multinational team led by scientists from the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that they had Candidate vaccine, Based on a weakened version of the virus with key genes deleted, and proved its effectiveness in pig farm trials in Vietnam.

The candidate vaccine is being developed by a commercial partner of a Vietnamese company called Navetco, and the timetable is unclear.This is Fifth experimental vaccine Developed by the USDA team. (The first four were developed by private companies with no further involvement from the federal government.) “As far as we know, we have the most advanced African swine fever vaccine in the process of commercialization,” said microbiologist Douglas Gradu. Is one of them. Developers.

Taking a step back: African swine fever is a long-term enemy of agriculture. Although it destroyed China’s pork industry, China is not the birthplace of the disease. The story of African swine fever actually started in Africa, almost exactly 100 years ago.

In September 1921, a Scottish veterinarian named Robert Eustace Montgomery worked for the British colonial government in East Africa and published his first description of it. Be prepared for almost complete loss,” he wrote.

This new disease caused by the virus has become a common partner in East African agriculture. Wild boars and warthogs hide it and regularly spread it to livestock; the same is true for certain ticks that feed on pigs. The symptoms are always the same: the pig will have a fever, loss of appetite, bleeding under the skin and internal organs, and then fall. Whenever an outbreak broke out, it either burned the entire herd and killed all pigs, or was extinguished when farmers slaughtered pigs to stop it. The first farmers to observe the disease found that there was nothing to stop the pigs other than cages instead of allowing them to move freely, and built a fence strong enough to prevent wild boars from entering.

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