BAI: Field trial of ASF vaccine 100 percent successful

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
BAI: Field trial of ASF vaccine 100 percent successful
Vendors at the Commonwealth Market in Quezon City sell pork products to customers on March 28, 2023.
Photos by Jesse Bustos / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — An official of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) announced the 100 percent success of the field trial on the vaccine against African swine fever (ASF) amid the continuous spread of the disease.

At a press conference yesterday, BAI Assistant Director Arlene Vytiaco said the field trial for the AVAC ASF live vaccine was conducted in six farms in Luzon. According to the official, the BAI made sure that the six piggeries selected for the field trial were ASF-free.

“After the 21-day field trial, 100 percent of the pigs vaccinated produced antibodies against ASF, which means they will be protected from the disease,” Vytiaco said.

She said that the ASF vaccine would help in the government’s campaign to control the spread of the disease. “It will be a big help in controlling ASF as we know that the outbreak of the disease persists, so many swine stakeholders are waiting for an effective vaccine against ASF,” she said.

She also disclosed that the BAI targets to import 600,000 doses of ASF vaccines this year once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues a certificate of product registration to address the outbreak of the ASF.

“We prepared a letter of endorsement to the FDA for the issuance of certificate of product registration as the vaccine is under its mandate. Once the FDA issues a certificate of production registration of the vaccine, the supplier will be importing from Vietnam,” Vytiaco said,

adding that the Philippines was only given 600,000 doses as quota for 2023.

“That is why we are trying to hasten the issuance of the certificate of product registration as many countries are also waiting for the vaccine. Vietnam will not supply the 600,000 doses unless the supplier is able to secure the required permit from the government,” she explained.

“Everyone is free to apply at the BAI then they will undergo the protocol, the prescribed guidelines. So far, this is the third (company),” Vytiaco noted.

According to Vytiaco, once the ASF vaccine is officially commercialized, it will not be mandatory as supply will still be limited compared to the nine million total hog population in the country.

“With our swine population, we will not be able to supply all but the 600,000 (doses) for this year. For 2024, there will be another allocation for the supplier,” she said.

Vytiaco said the guidelines on the release of the ASF vaccine will be finalized through the national ASF control program. “While waiting for the approval of the FDA and the arrival of the stocks, we will be working on the vaccination guidelines,” she said.

For his part, Agriculture Assistant Secretary and deputy spokesman Rex Estoperez said the DA has yet to finalize if the ASF vaccine will be given for free or shouldered by hog raisers.

“We have yet to discuss that but the possibility will depend on the price. The government can intervene,” he said.

The ASF continues to spread in the Visayas, particularly in Aklan, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.

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