ASFRISK : Evaluating and controlling the risk of African swine fever in the EU

Project identifier 137-ASFRISK
Project Status finished
Start date 2008-04-01
End date 2011-09-30
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Animal and crop health
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Type of Project Personal capacity building projects
    Keyword epidemiology; ASFV; vaccine
    Location Kenya; Tanzania, United Republic of; Cote d'Ivoire; Ghana; Benin; Togo; Burkina Faso; Nigeria; Italy; Sweden; China; South Africa; Spain; Viet Nam; Portugal
    Budget 3 981 457
    Main Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (FP7)
    Coordinator Technical University of Lisbon
  • Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation)
  • Complutense University of Madrid
  • National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA)
  • CSIC - Spanish National Research Council
  • Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)
  • Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Umbria e delle Marche
  • Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) Federal Research institut for Animal Health
  • The Royal Veterinary College, University of London
  • National Veterinary Institute (SVA)
  • Agricultural Research Council (ARC)
  • Ministère de la Production Animale et des Ressources Halieutiques
  • Federal Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre (CODA-CERVA)
  • Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute (LVRI), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)
  • National Institute of Veterinary Research (NIVR)
  • Inmunologia Y Genetica Aplicada Sa (Ingenasa)
  • Queen's University Belfast
  • Project Web Site


    Executive Summary:

    African swine fever (ASF) in EU member states is currently confined to Italy (Sardinia). It was recently introduced to Caucasian countries and Russia and it is highly prevalent in sub-Saharan African countries. Surveys during outbreaks occurred previously in Eastern and Southern African regions have shown that although ASFV prevalence in the domestic pigs is high, in many cases serum conversion was not detected. These events pose a great challenge for the prevention and control of ASF, not only locally, but also worldwide. The complex epidemiological scenarios of ASF, the increasing mobility of people, animals and goods across the globe, emphasize the serious menace the disease presents to the growing pig farming sector in Africa and to currently ASF-free EU member states permanently threatened by the occurrence of the disease in different geographical regions.

    In order to improve tools and strategies for the prevention and control of ASF, the work developed under the ASFRISK project aimed at fulfilling four objectives contained in the Major Tasks of the work-plan:
    i) to improve and further develop the epidemiological, risk assessment and control measures of African swine fever (ASF), ii) to develop and provide new and robust tests for laboratory and front-line diagnosis, through the achievement, standardization and validation of more rapid, sensitive and inexpensive serological and molecular procedures iii) to establish new strategies for vaccine development against ASF, iv) to transfer knowledge on relevant aspects of ASF and transfer of diagnostic and epidemiologic tools through training courses and traineeships to provide an harmonized international training, in order to prevent and combat this highly devastating, OIE-listed transboundary animal disease.
    The four main tasks of the project were outlined and harmonized in the work-plan providing a logical process for the improvement of knowledge on critical aspects of ASF and development of tools towards the achievement of the objectives through the contribution of highly qualified partners from EU, Africa and Asia, with expertise in all the areas concerned. Major outcomes of the project emphasize its successful contribution for “Evaluating and controlling the risk of ASF in the EU”:

    - Development of epidemiological methods and decision support tools provide information to policy makers on ASF epidemiological situation and will assist in the prioritization of strategies to better prevent and control ASF in a potential incursion into the EU and in all currently affected territories.
    - Development of a range of valuable serological and molecular diagnostic tools suitable for use in well-equipped international and national reference laboratories, in basic regional and local laboratories, or even for rapid first line on-site application, allow and complement available tests thus promoting more efficient and earlier diagnosis of the disease.
    - Characterization of several ASFV-host interactions at cellular and molecular levels and the production of different attenuated recombinant virus strains that may be potentially used as future candidates for a vaccine, open new insights on the development of control strategies against ASF.
    - Transfer of knowledge on relevant aspects of ASF and transfer diagnostic and epidemiologic tools through training courses and traineeships to a large number of professionals from Animal Health Institutions in EU, Africa, Asia, Russia and Caucasian countries. These harmonized training actions will contribute for the strengthening of knowledge and technological efficacy to face problems caused by ASF in endemic countries and to build up preparedness capacity against the threat of the disease in free countries.

    The outcomes of the project will undoubtedly contribute to the sustained development of EU agri-food business by improving prevention, early detection and control of ASF and therefore reducing the socio-economic consequences of potential incursions of the disease in EU from infected regions.