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Increasing Canada's Preparedness for African swine fever with the University of Saskatchewan's VIDO-InterVac

Monday, January 13, 2020 12:00:00 PM

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is pleased to announce that the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) will work with African swine fever (ASF), further supporting Canada's preparedness strategy by increasing research capacity.

This complements ongoing collaborations between the CFIA and VIDO-InterVac aimed at developing and testing vaccines and antivirals for ASF – a deadly and fast spreading viral disease that is killing millions of pigs worldwide and could devastate Canada's pork industry.

In January, VIDO-InterVac will commence work with the ASF virus in its Containment Level 3-Agriculture (CL3-Ag) facility in Saskatoon.

VIDO-InterVac will be the first non-government facility in Canada to work with the ASF virus.

"With the spread of ASF in other parts of the world, the Government of Canada is taking a leadership role to protect our pork industry, economy and Canadians' jobs. Supporting research towards an ASF vaccine is one of many ways that we are working to mitigate the global impact of ASF."
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

As there are currently no vaccines or treatments approved for use against this pig disease, this research is an important step towards the development and testing of vaccines and antivirals for ASF that could serve to protect Canada's pork sector.

Quick Facts

- In 2018, approximately $4 billion worth of Canadian pork was exported to 87 countries, making Canada a top-three exporter of pork in the world.
- Canada's pork industry supports more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributes about $24 billion annually to the Canadian economy.
- ASF has never been detected in Canada.
- ASF does not pose a food safety risk.

VIDO-InterVac has developed several new vaccines for animal diseases that include porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia.