In this May 8, 2019, photo, pigs eat feed at a pig farm in Panggezhuang village in northern China's Hebei province. As a deadly virus ravages pig herds across Asia, scientists are accelerating efforts to develop a vaccine to help guard the world's pork supply. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Urgency for vaccine grows as virus ravages China's pigs

August 20, 2019 - 1:11 am

BEIJING (AP) — Scientists are working to develop a vaccine to help protect the world's pork supply from a deadly virus that's ravaging pig herds in Asia.

Farmers have long contained the spread of African swine fever by quarantining and killing infected animals, but the disease's appearance in more countries is intensifying the search for another solution.

The virus hadn't been considered a priority for researchers until it turned up last year in China, home to half the world's pigs. Since then, it spread to Vietnam and Taiwan, killing millions of pigs along the way.

In the U.S., government scientists are studying a possible vaccine that's made by deleting select genes in the virus. Though African swine fever does not sicken people, it is a highly contagious illness that is deadly to pigs.

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