Thoughts on African swine fever vaccines
African swine fever (ASF) is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease of domestic swine with mortality rates approaching 100%. Devastating ASF outbreaks and continuing epidemics starting in the Caucasus region and now in the Russian Federation, Europe, China, and other parts of Southeast Asia (2007 to date) highlight its significance. ASF strain Georgia-07 and its derivatives are now endemic in extensive regions of Europe and Asia and are "out of Africa" forever, a situation that poses a grave if not an existential threat to the swine industry worldwide. While our current concern is Georgia-07, other emerging ASFV strains will threaten for the indefinite future. Economic analysis indicates that an ASF outbreak in the U.S. would result in approximately billion USD in losses, assuming the disease is rapidly controlled and the U.S. is able to reenter export markets within two years. ASF's potential to spread and become endemic in new regions, its rapid and efficient transmission among pigs, and the relative stability of the causative agent ASF virus (ASFV) in the environment all provide significant challenges for disease control. Effective and robust methods, including vaccines for ASF response and recovery, are needed immediately.