Page 5 - Australian Pork Newspaper
P. 5

ASF a major swing factor
CRISPR could help control ASF outbreaks
RESEARCHERS at the International Livestock Research Institute said that new vaccine trials against the east African strain of African swine fever are yielding prom- ising results.
swine fever have been detected in 26 African nations, as well as parts of Asia and Europe.
and economic disrup- tions wherever it strikes.
Scientists at the ILRI are using CRISPR Cas9 gene editing and syn- thetic biology to modify the African swine fever genome to produce atten- uated virus for vaccines that could reduce deaths from the pig disease.
“The only reason it’s not yet a catastrophe here is that pig production is not one of the biggest commodities in Africa,” Ms Steinaa said.
“A vaccine would obvi- ously prevent that,” Ms Steinaa said.
The method has yielded 10 potential vaccine can- didates.
“It would be a disaster if they had a big produc- tion similar to say Eu- rope.”
Successes in the on- going vaccine trials on genotype IX will provide valuable lessons in the race for a comprehensive cure for ASF – a disease that has wreaked havoc in many parts of the globe since its discovery in Kenya about a century ago.
Leading scientist in the vaccine research on ASF at ILRI Lucilla Steinaa said, “This is the first test based on a genome to be conducted on genotype IX, which is prevalent in eastern and central Af- rica.”
With 400 million pigs, China has the largest share of the world’s total population of 770 mil- lion pigs.
The genetic charac- terisation of all the ASF virus isolates known so far has demonstrated 23 geographically re- lated genotypes with numerous subgroups, according to the Food and Agriculture Organi- sation.
With a 100 percent fa- tality rate and a highly contagious nature, ASF poses a potent threat to the global pig farming industry.
Steinaa added that sci- entists are also trying to attenuate theileria parva, the protozoan parasite that causes east coast fever, using the same technique used for ASF.
A n effective vaccine would be a major break- through for pig farmers and ensure global pork supplies remained stable.
Smallholder farmers are particularly vulner- able to the devastation wrought by the disease, which has seen many of them shun pig farming.
“But Africa is doing a lot more pig rearing year by year.
“If it can be availed at a price that is affordable, then this would be the easiest way to maintain production.”
The rapid spread of the disease portends social
“We have just started the lab experiment, a controlled animal exper- iment, which I estimate may run until the end of 2022 or thereabouts,” Ms Steinaa said.
“By then, we hope to have found a candidate vaccine that can be pro- duced.”
New vaccine trials yield promising results against the east African strain of African swine fever.
Outbreaks of African
in global pork markets
AFRICAN swine fever prices are expected to and while progress has pig imports to Germany,
is still actively driving pork markets around the world and creating many areas of uncertainty in China and Germany.
fluctuate due to the uncer- tainties of disease devel- opment, restocking inter- ests, feed costs and import policies.
been made in containing the disease, more work is needed.
and lower live animal im- ports will likely continue in 2021.
China is the most ob- vious country where ASF continues to have a major influence.
“Our view is that average hog prices in 2021 will be lower than in 2020 and subject to strong ups and downs during the year,” Mr Sherrard said.
The situation in Ger- many has implications for other parts of Europe as well.
From September to No- vember 2020, piglet im- ports from Denmark and the Netherlands – the two major suppliers of piglets to Germany – dropped by 25 and 31 percent re- spectively compared to the same period in 2019.
Its spread over winter highlights the challenges of managing this disease, and it has complicated the picture of China’s pork supply and demand.
As China’s economy is expected to recover fur- ther from COVID-19 im- pacts in 2021, this will support foodservice de- mand and institutional consumption, as well as household consumption.
“After the ASF outbreak in Germany was con- firmed in September 2020, 10 countries imposed im- port bans on German pork including China, Japan and Vietnam, leaving about an extra 70,000 metric tonnes of pork on the European market each month,” Mr Sherrardsaid.
This represents a total of 0.7m less head imported to Germany – approxi- mately 1 percent of the total slaughtered animals in 2020.
Rabobank global strate- gist animal protein Justin Sherrard said, “ASF is creating significant uncer- tainty in key areas, such as China’s herd numbers and the outlook for 2021, espe- cially for the sow popula- tion but also on China’s pork production and pork prices.”
As pork prices will soften from the high levels of 2020, they will get sup- port from improved de- mand.
Though a number of countries recently relaxed import bans on German pork, the import ban by China will likely remain in place for the first half of 2021 at a minimum, as the situation is still evolving.
About the impact on world pork trade
While Rabobank be- lieves pig supply will gen- erally increase in 2021,
The ongoing pressure from ASF’s spread in Ger- many is also significant
The outbreak has al- ready had a significant impact on piglet and live
China’s booming im- port demand for pork and other species was a major demand driver in global animal protein markets in 2020, but Rabobank an- ticipates China’s pork im- ports will decline in 2021.
About the situation in Germany
The implications of ASF for world pork trade are a major swing factor in global pork markets.
“At the same time, we see all exporting countries looking to maintain trade with China,” Mr Sherrard said.
“Price will be one major factor that determines which countries will maintain high pork trade flows to China in 2021, along with availability and geopolitical considera- tions.”
Australian Pork Newspaper, April 2021 – Page 5

   3   4   5   6   7