Vietnam successfully produces African swine fever vaccine hinh anh 1NAVET-ASFVAC vaccine of NAVETCO (Photo courtesy of NAVETCO)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam has become the first country to develop and authorize commercial circulation of a vaccine against African swine fever (ASF) that delivers six months of immunity and meets the technical requirements of the industry, thanks to the production of NAVET-ASFVAC, a product of Navetco National Veterinary Joint Stock Company (NAVETCO).

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) held a ceremony in Hanoi on June 3 to announce the outcome of the research and production of the vaccine named NAVET-ASFVAC. 

An African swine fever outbreak was first detected in Vietnam in February 2019 before spreading to all 63 provinces and cities nationwide, causing more than six million pigs to be culled.

The epidemic cost Vietnam over 30 trillion VND (1.29 billion USD) in losses and affected the national consumer price index (CPI) in 2020. At present, the disease is still being reported in many localities nationwide.

Vietnam began researching and producing the vaccine in February 2020 with the help of US experts. Following lab trials, the vaccine has proved to be able to protect at least 80% of immunised pigs, which retain immunity for six months.

The ministry enlisted several scientific councils and scientists to evaluate its effectiveness.

Last month, an agency representing US scientists sent a letter to Vietnam, affirming that NAVETCO’s vaccine research and evaluation match the results they produced.

The vaccine will first be sold on a small scale and given to around 600,000 pigs aged between 8-10 weeks. Following this evaluation, the ministry will consider nationwide distribution.

In his remarks, US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc E. Knapper lauded the cooperation between the two countries in addressing such a global issue, stressing that US scientists will continue their cooperation with Vietnam.

Vietnam successfully produces African swine fever vaccine hinh anh 2At the ceremony (Photo: VietnamPlus)

At the ceremony, the MARD handed over a licence for commercial vaccine circulation to NAVETCO.

The successful production of an African swine fever vaccine is a significant development for the pig breeding sector in Vietnam, according to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien.

Tien said the success enhances the prestige of Vietnamese breeding and veterinary medicine globally. More than 50% of farms in Vietnam are small-scale, so vaccines are critical to protecting the industry, which is the engine of the middle class. This is also a chance for Vietnam to export vaccines to other countries, he said, adding that many countries have contacted the ministry and showed interest in the new developments.

The successful production of the African swine fever vaccine, as well as other veterinary treatments, reveals Vietnam’s ever-increasing capacity in veterinary medicine, he stated.

The vaccine was developed from a genetically modified strain of the virus by deleting the previously uncharacterised gene, I177L.

Tien said that the ministry will closely supervise the pilot injection of 600,000 doses of the vaccine before allowing it to be used across the country.

Former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that vaccination will be a key measure to ensuring the food chain while paving the way for Vietnam to successfully implement the livestock development strategy in the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2045.

Two more vaccines against African swine fever, which were developed by AVAC Vietnam Co., Ltd. and Dabaco Group JSC, are expected to be licensed in Vietnam by the end of this year.

Testing of the AVAC ASF LIVE vaccine started on pig farms in March 2022, with the efficacy rate reaching 95%. AVAC is finalising legal steps to register for the circulation of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, Dabaco’s DACOVAC-ASF2 vaccine has been tested and evaluated since March 2022./.