July 11, 2024


Possible commercial launch of ASF vaccine in Philippines by this year, agriculture secretary says




The Philippines Department of Agriculture (DA) is targeting the commercial rollout of a long-awaited vaccine against African swine fever (ASF) to revitalise the local hog industry from adverse effects of animal disease.


In an interview on July 5, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said the availability of the ASF vaccine for commercial use will further advance the government's campaign to curb the spread of ASF.


"We expect that the vaccine will be available for commercial use within the year so we will no longer have a problem with ASF," De Mesa said.


On July 4, the DA announced that the Philippines' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would approve a ASF vaccine coming from Vietnam in a few weeks' time.


"[The] FDA and the DA are working very closely on this. We have good teamwork," said de Mesa said on the sidelines of a Presidential Assistance for Farmers, Fisherfolk and Families event in Calabayog City, Eastern Samar.


De Mesa, also the spokesperson for the DA, said controlled vaccinations will be conducted to test the efficacy of the vaccine, with the Bureau of Animal Industry and the FDA jointly monitoring these activities.


He said selected hogs will be inoculated to control the risk, and the FDA will give approval to carry out the next round of vaccinations once controlled trials yield "good results."


Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines president Rolando Tambago said the "controlled use" of the vaccines will "greatly help the industry's goal to increase local pork production" if it is successful.


While waiting for the availability of ASF vaccines in the country, Tambago said hog farmers should strictly implement biosecurity measures to protect hogs from infections.


The DA said the commercial distribution of the ASF vaccine would follow upon securing the FDA's approval.


"The vaccine from Vietnam really works. So, that solves our problem," Tiu Laurel said, adding this would stop the spread of ASF nationwide.


De Mesa said the DA would study the provision of subsidies to hog raisers, particularly small or hog growers, in creating the mechanism for the vaccination drive.


"If ever such vaccine is effective, then the government should subsidise, especially smallhold hog farmers," Tambago said.


- Inquirer