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Taking a Promising Vaccine Candidate Further: Efficacy of ASFV-G-ΔMGF after Intramuscular Vaccination of Domestic Pigs and Oral Vaccination of Wild Boar

African swine fever (ASF) is a pandemic threat to the global pig industry and wild suids. A safe and efficacious vaccine could monumentally assist in disease eradication. In the past years, promising live attenuated vaccine candidates emerged in proof-of-concept experiments, among which was “ASFV-G-∆MGF”. In our study, we tested the vaccine candidate in three animal experiments intramuscularly in domestic pigs and orally in wild boar. Further, a macrophage-grown vaccine virus and a virus grown on permanent cells could be employed. Irrespective of the production system of the vaccine virus, a two-dose intramuscular immunization could induce close-to-sterile immunity with full clinical protection against challenge infection. After oral immunization, 50% of the vaccinees seroconverted and all responders were completely protected against subsequent challenge. All nonresponders developed ASF upon challenge with two acute lethal infections and two mild and transient courses. The latter results show a lower efficiency after oral administration that would have to be taken into consideration when designing vaccination-based control measures. Overall, our findings confirm that “ASFV-G-∆MGF” is a most promising vaccine candidate that could find its way into well-organized and controlled immunization campaigns. Further research is needed to characterize safety aspects and define possible improvements of oral efficiency.

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