Vietnam said last week it has had initial success in creating a vaccine to fight African swine fever, which has infected farms throughout the Southeast Asian country and prompted the culling of around 10 percent of its pig herd.
African swine fever, which has spread to Laos and North Korea as well after being detected in China in August 2018, was first detected in Vietnam in February and has spread to farms in 61 of the country’s 63 provinces.
More than 2.9 million pigs have been culled in Vietnam out of a hog population of about 30 million, Agriculture Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said.
“I think we’re on the right track, and we will soon have a vaccine,” Cuong said, according to the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
The vaccine, developed at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture, has been tested in its laboratory and at three farms, state broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) said in a separate report.
Experts on vaccines and African swine fever, though, were skeptical over the claims of progress and said there needed to be much more research to prove the viability of any vaccine.
“We need different phases of clinical trials, first in an experimental setting with controlled exposure, and then a field trial with natural exposure to the virus, and that cannot be a small trial,” said Dirk Pfeiffer, a professor of veterinary epidemiology at the City University of Hong Kong.
The agricultural university’s director, Nguyen Thi Lan, said the vaccine requires testing on a larger scale.