Vietnam has temporarily suspended the use of its first ASF vaccine after dozens of pigs inoculated with the shots died this month, news agency Reuters reported.
According to the Nhan Dan newspaper, the pigs were among around 600 pigs at several farms in the central province of Phu Yen that were injected with the Navet-ASFVac vaccine developed by Navetco, a company owned by the agriculture ministry.
An agriculture ministry official, who chose to remain anonymous, told news agency Reuters, “We have set up a working group to travel to the province to investigate the deaths of the pigs.” Navetco didn’t immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The virus arrived in Vietnam 2018, and soon thereafter all 63 provinces were infected. Reuters quoted data from the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), stating that in 2022 the ASF outbreak has been detected in 753 areas in 47 provinces, leading to the culling of 36,500 pigs.
Last June, Vietnam announced that it had successfully developed a vaccine to administer to pigs to fight ASF, with the aim of becoming the first country to commercially produce and export it. The agriculture ministry earmarked 600,000 doses of the vaccine for domestic use from July this year.
That vaccine development was based on ground-breaking research by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Animal Research Service (ARS).
One explanation for the current deaths could simply be that the farms were already infected with ASF virus before vaccination started. Another explanation could be off-label use – the vaccine has been designed to be used in pigs between 8-10 weeks.