Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) scientists are vibrant and optimistic about finding the last solution to the African swine fever (ASF). This re-emerging viral disease is highly contagious and deadly for both domestic and wild pigs. It is responsible for severe economic and production losses. Over 100 years after the description of the first case of African swine fever, the disease outbreaks is still reported in many African countries and beyond. The future control of African swine fever spread like other contagious viral diseases focuses on the early detection and management.
In the latest development, the Sokoine University of Agriculture scientist, Dr. Emma Peter Njau and colleagues have describes the first complete genome of African swine fever belonging to genotype II in Africa.
There are 24 genotypes of the virus globally. The first description, based on partial genome sequences of genotype II in Tanzania was done in 2012 by another Sokoine University of Agriculture scientists, Professor Gerald Misinzo, Christopher Kasanga and colleagues
Njau’s study has added more information on the genetic characteristics of this virus, which bridges the study published last year by a team of Sokoine University of Agriculture scientists describing the spread of this virus and its impact on livelihoods, especially of small scale farmers.
The leadership of Sokoine University of Agriculture scientists to fight African swine fever is evident in many collaborative studies that have covered several African countries. Some studies, which were conducted at SUA are:
- Genetic Analysis of African swine fever Virus From the 2018 Outbreak in South-Eastern Burundi.
- Genetic profile of African swine fever virus responsible for the 2019 outbreak in northern Malawi.
- Co-circulation of multiple genotypes of African swine fever viruses among domestic pigs in Zambia (2013-2015).
- Diagnosis and genotyping of African swine fever viruses from 2015 outbreaks in Zambia.
Dr. Philbert Nyinondi,
Sokoine National Agricultural Library