New antigen identification in the African swine fever virus genome thorough a plasmid DNA library

Project summary

African swine fever (ASF) is a haemorrhagic devastating pig disease with mortality rates up to 100% caused by African swine fever virus (ASFV). The disease is endemic in Africa but now it is also present in the Russian Federation and other Eastern European countries, becoming a global threat. Currently, there is no vaccine nor treatment and the only countermeasures against ASF are the rapid diagnosis and culling of infected animals. However, in recent years several new approaches in the field of vaccinology have been developed against ASFV. The generation of recombinant attenuated ASFV isolates is a very promising approach, but a subunit vaccine would be a much safer and cheaper approach to vaccination and would pose less constraints for licensing in both scenarios, the European and the African. Previous studies have demonstrated the key role that humoral and cellular response can play in protection and several antigens targeting CD8+ T-cell and antibody response were identified. Unfortunately, none of them or combinations of them were able to protect a 100% of the pigs after ASFV challenge. The tested antigens eliciting an antibody response were immunodominant in the domestic pig sera, and very little is known about other possible subdominant antigens. On the other hand, an exhaustive screening of bushpig and warthog (resistant to ASF) sera was never done before. In this project we propose a comprehensive approach where we will compare the pattern of antibody recognition of domestic pig and wild pig sera using a DNA library encoding the complete ASFV Kenya 1033 genome individually and test their neutralizing capacity. The identified antigens will be susceptible to be included in a future vaccine against ASFV.