The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced Jan. 8 that the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine & Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Center (VIDO-InterVac) will work with African swine fever (ASF), further supporting Canada's preparedness strategy by increasing research capacity.
CFIA said this complements ongoing collaborations between the agency and VIDO-InterVac aimed at developing and testing vaccines and antivirals against ASF — a deadly and fast-spreading viral disease that is killing millions of pigs worldwide and could devastate Canada's pork industry.
In January, VIDO-InterVac will commence work with the ASF virus in its Containment Level 3-Agriculture (CL3-Ag) facility in Saskatoon, Sask.
Canada's chief veterinary officer Dr. Jaspinder Komal said, "Science plays an important role in the fight against ASF. Supporting VIDO-InterVac's vaccine research is a key step forward in stopping the progress of this deadly disease."
VIDO-InterVac will be the first non-government facility in Canada to work with the ASF virus, CFIA said.
As there are currently no vaccines or treatments approved for use against this pig disease, CFIA said "this research is an important step towards the development and testing of vaccines and antivirals for ASF that could serve to protect Canada's pork sector."
VIDO-InterVac has developed several new vaccines for animal diseases that include porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, CFIA said.
"With the spread of ASF in other parts of the world, the government of Canada is taking a leadership role to protect our pork industry, economy and Canadians' jobs. Supporting research towards an ASF vaccine is one of many ways that we are working to mitigate the global impact of ASF," said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada's minister of agriculture and agri-food.