2021 - 2023
Emerging African swine fever in domestic pigs and wild boar: Understanding pathobiology to inform disease control
African swine fever (ASF), a serious viral disease of domestic pigs (DP) and wild boar (WB), is markedly impacting global pig production. Disease control measures such as development of vaccines for DP and WB and use of epidemiological models necessitate a good understanding of the pathobiology of ASF. However, basic knowledge of host-virus interactions, especially early in disease and in WB in general, is lacking. Limited data available suggest differences in ASF pathogenesis in DP and WB, yet DP are assumed to be surrogates for WB. Similarly, information on host-virus interactions from animals naturally infected in the field is scarce and experimental infections are assumed to reflect the field situation. This project aims to fill these knowledge gaps by first providing a comprehensive picture of the pathobiology of ASF virus genotype II in DP and WB from early infection to terminal disease. This includes characterization of clinical signs, disease course, gross and microscopic pathology, target cells and tissues, virus tissue burdens, routes of shedding and serological immune responses. We will also characterize the pathology and virus distribution in animals infected in the field. Results will be integrated to address the fitness of DP as surrogates for WB and experimental infections for disease in the field. Finally, we will report on how novel data generated on pathobiology of ASF can guide vaccine candidate evaluation and refine parameters used in epidemiologic models.