THE Philippines is set to take part in field trials for a potential vaccine against African Swine Fever (ASF).

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will be joining an international trial for a candidate vaccine produced in the UK.

“We believe that the collaboration will provide first-hand information on the efficacy of the vaccine against the strain present in the Philippines,” the DA said.

England’s Pirbright Institute, which researches infectious diseases in farm animals, has developed a possible vaccine for ASF.

“The Pirbright team has developed a vectored vaccine, which uses a non-harmful virus (the vector) to deliver eight strategically selected genes from the ASF virus genome into pig cells. Once inside the cell, the genes produce viral proteins which primes the pig immune cells to respond to an ASF infection,” Pirbright Institute said in a statement.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie D. Domingo said the candidate vaccine still has to hurdle field testing before it can be distributed widely.

“Vaccine development takes a long time. It usually takes a minimum of 10 to 15 years. There are several stages of vaccine development,” Mr. Domingo said.

The DA has said that over 280,000 pigs have been culled to contain ASF. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave