Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have identified a new way to detect the presence of live African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) that minimizes the need for samples from live animals and provides easier access to veterinary labs that need to diagnose the virus.
“We have identified a cell-line that can be used to isolate and detect the presence of the live virus,” said Douglas Gladue, scientist at the ARS, in a press release. “This is a critical breakthrough and a tremendous step for African Swine Fever Virus diagnostics.”
There are currently no available vaccines to prevent ASFV, and outbreak control has often relied on quarantining and removing infected or exposed animals. Until now, effectively detecting live ASFV required collecting blood cells from a live donor swine for every diagnostic test, because the cells could only be used once. The new cell line can be continuously replicated and frozen to create cells for future use, reducing the number of live donor animals needed. The new cell line is also commercially available to veterinary diagnostic labs that traditionally did not have access to swine blood cells needed to test for live ASFV.