China seeking vaccine for African swine fever

The country's science and tech ministry have set up a special research project

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(Image by Max Pixel)

(Image by Max Pixel)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese authorities say they are seeking to develop a vaccine for African swine fever.

Reuters reported on Jan. 18 that the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology made the announcement on Friday. A post on the ministry’s website claims China has established a research project to study the virus’s origins and the way in which it spreads.

Scientists in other countries are also attempting to develop vaccines against the disease, despite gaps in knowledge about strain variations, Reuters reports.

According to Liberty Times, there have so far been 118 outbreaks of the disease, across 19 Chinese provinces, four municipalities and one autonomous region (Inner Mongolia). Authorities admitted themselves last year, however, that there was a problem with farmers underreporting, as new cases appear to erupt sporadically.

The spread of the virus still shows no signs of slowing, as a new outbreak was reported in the northwestern Gansu province mere hours ago.

Pork and live pig prices remain low, according to official sources, but are projected to rise significantly in the latter half of the year. A government official has said farmers should try to quickly replenish their herd.

African swine fever has not hit Taiwan, despite worry following the discovery of several abandoned pig carcasses across the island over the past few weeks, and multiple washing up on the shores of outlying counties.

The disease is fatal for pigs but does not harm humans.