Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

An outbreak of a disease Flowers bloom in China. Exactly how it originated, far from the eyes of any survey scientist, no one can quite explain. It spreads at incredible speeds, kills extensively, disrupts transportation and trade, and causes widespread economic disruption. Hitchhiking on a global trip, it makes the world go round. There is no antidote, and no vaccine. Inevitably, it arrives in America in July 2021.

Yes, 2021. The year is not typo. This outbreak is not cowardly; It is a parallel, hidden epidemic, a deadly animal disease called African swine fever that was caught In the Dominican Republic in July. African swine fever poses no risk to humans, but it is incredibly devastating for cattle: the number of those deaths in China was millions of pigs, at least a quarter – and Probably one and a halfAmong the whole flock of the world’s largest pork producers.

In the United States, animal health authorities are now on high alert. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has made a promise Emergency application 500 million to increase surveillance and prevent the disease from crossing borders. African swine fever is so feared internationally that if it is found in the United States, pork could be exported. More than 7 7 billion One year – will be closed immediately.

“The long-distance spread of highly contagious and pathogenic diseases is a bad situation,” Michael Ward, an epidemiologist at the University of Sydney and chair of veterinary public health, told Wired via email. “In agriculture, it is an analogue of Kovid-1.”

There is no such vaccine at the beginning of the Covid epidemic – but like the Covid, there is a glimmer of hope for one, thanks to the basic science that has yielded results that have not received much attention over the years. Two weeks ago, a multinational team led by scientists from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service announced that they have Acquire a vaccine candidateDeletion is a key gene based on a weaker version of the virus, and demonstrated its effectiveness in pig field trials in Vietnam.

The vaccine candidate is being developed by a commercial partner, a Vietnamese company, in a timeline called Navetko, which is not yet clear. It is The fifth experimental vaccine Made by the USDA team. (The first four private companies are developing without further federal involvement.) “As far as we know, our commercialization process includes the most advanced African swine fever vaccine,” said Douglas Gladdu, a microbiologist and developer.

Going back a bit: African swine fever is a long-standing agricultural enemy. Although it has destroyed China’s pork industry, China is not the origin of the disease. The story of African swine fever actually began in Africa about 100 years ago.

The first account was published in September 1921 by Robert Eustace Montgomery, a Scottish veterinarian working for the British colonial government in East Africa. Be prepared for virtually complete damage, ”he wrote.

A new disease caused by a virus became a regular companion to agriculture in East Africa. Wild swine and warthogs shelter it and periodically spread it to cattle; So are certain species of ticks that eat swine. The symptoms were always the same: pigs would develop a fever, lose their appetite, bleed and break down under their skin and in their internal organs. Whenever an outbreak spreads, it either burns through an animal and kills all the pigs or the farmers prevent it to kill their pigs. The first farmers to observe the disease saw nothing but resistance by limiting pigs to free movement and building strong enough fences to keep wild pigs out.

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