Another global epidemic is spreading – among pigs.

The spread of the disease. Flowers in China. Exactly how it emerges, out of the sight of any survey scientist, no one can explain. It spreads with incredible speed, kills large numbers of people, freezes transport and trade, and causes widespread economic disruption. Hesitant to travel the world, it encircles the world. There is no cure and no vaccine. Inevitably, it arrives in the United States in July 2021.

Yes, 2021. The year is not a typo. The epidemic is not cowardly, it is a parallel, hidden epidemic, a deadly animal disease called African swine fever that was found in the Dominican Republic in July. African swine fever poses no threat to humans, but it is incredibly devastating to livestock: those deaths in China were millions of pigs, at least a quarter – and possibly the world’s largest pork. Of the whole flock of the Creator.

In the United States, animal health officials are now on high alert. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has pledged 500 500 million in emergency funding to increase surveillance and prevent disease from crossing borders. African swine fever is so feared internationally that if it were found in the United States, pork exports – more than 7 7 billion a year – would be cut off immediately.

“The spread of highly contagious and pathogenic diseases over long distances is a worsening situation,” Michael Ward, an epidemiologist at the University of Sydney and chair of veterinary public health, told Viral by email. “In agriculture, this is an analog of Covid 19.”

As with the onset of cove epidemic, there is no vaccine – but like cove, there is a ray of hope for one, thanks to basic science that has been delivering results without much attention for years. Two weeks ago, a multinational team led by scientists from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service announced that they had obtained a vaccine candidate based on a weaker version of the virus, in which key genes had been removed. Yes, and has shown its effectiveness in field trials in pigs. , In Vietnam.

The vaccine candidate is being developed by a trading partner, a Vietnamese company, Nieto, on a timeline that is not yet clear. This is the fifth experimental vaccine developed by the USDA team. (The first four are being developed by private companies without further federal involvement.) “As far as we know, we have the African swine fever vaccine in the commercialization process,” says Douglas Gladdo, a microbiologist. Developers

Slight retreat: African swine fever is a long-standing agricultural enemy. Although it destroyed China’s pork industry, China is not the real site of the disease. The story of African swine fever actually begins in Africa, about 100 years ago.

The first details were published in September 1921 by a Scottish veterinarian named Robert Eustace Montgomery, who was working for the British colonial government in East Africa. Montgomery reported an outbreak of hemorrhagic fever in farm pigs that was so devastating: “One owner; be prepared for practically complete loss,” he wrote.

The new disease, caused by a virus, became a regular companion to farming in East Africa. Wild swine and warthogs shelter it and from time to time spread it to cattle. So some species of ticks that eat pigs. The symptoms were always the same: pigs develop a fever, lose their appetite, bleed and fall under their skin and in their internal organs. Whenever an epidemic breaks out, it either burns through a herd and kills all the pigs, or it is extinguished when farmers slaughter their pigs to stop it. The first farmers to observe the disease found that instead of allowing the pigs to roam freely, nothing could stop them except to keep them confined and build fences to keep wild boar out.

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