LinkTADs
Linking Epidemiology and Laboratory Research on Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses in EU and China

Policy discussions on African Swine Fever

Shuo Li, FAO ECTAD China

On 17 November 2014, 40 experts from the EU and Asia met in Beijing for the LinkTADs African Swine Fever Policy Event. In order to improve the preparedness for African Swine Fever (ASF), a deadly disease affecting pigs, FAO, China and the European Union (EU) jointly organized this meeting for a productive policy dialogue on the issue.

Some of the key speakers included Zhang Zhongjun, Carolyn Benigno, Daniel Beltrán-Alcrudo and Guo Fusheng from FAO; Jerome Lepeintre from EU Delegation to China; Wang Gongmin, Veterinary Bureau of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture as well as José Manuel Sánchez-Vizcaíno from Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

We believe that one of the most important aims of the meeting was to create the framework for the participants to explore how lessons on fighting ASF learned in Europe could be applied to Asia by identifying the main policy gaps and challenges in the East and Southeast Asia. Another aim was to ultimately develop a set of recommendations and a follow-up strategy for ASF policy in the region.

This meeting has three main outcomes, and FAO ECTAD China believes that they should be considered by the Chinese veterinary officials in shaping official response to the deadly disease:

1. The decision makers have now realized the urgent need for international cooperation on prevention and control of ASF and other exotic diseases;

2. During the meeting, the EU experts raised many interesting questions and provided suggestions to Asian countries including China, which certainly will be helpful for relevant policy makers;

3. The Chinese officials now take into account that multilateral cooperation is crucial for controlling Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs), and more policy dialogues of similar kind are welcome.

In our view, 11 cross-cutting recommendations for immediate action to build preparedness and improve ASF policy making, serve as the most important result of the LinkTADs policy event. Among other steps, the recommended actions for relevant stakeholders to take include:

  • increasing communication and awareness by conducting risk assessments and ensuring training,
  • assessing policies,
  • addressing backyard, low-biosecurity and wild boar issues,
  • linking with other swine disease efforts,
  • collaborating with forestry authorities and hunters 
  • mobilizing additional resources.

It is important to underline that the participants also expressed their positive view on the LinkTADs project, especially regarding the multidimensional network and platform on animal disease prevention and control established between the EU and China.

 

 


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Comments

  • Anonymous

    Dear Fernando,

    Thanks for your comments. Although the use of a vaccine was certainly highlighted during the meeting as a very important tool (when available) for the control of the disease if ASF ever entered the region, we tried to focus on recommendations based on the tools that are available right now. Mostly since we always hear (e.g. at GARA) that the vaccine is still 10 years down the line.

    It is great to learn that you are optimistic that the development of an ASF vaccine is advancing fast and may be achieved earlier than what we thought.

    I'm sure our partners both in China (and Europe) would love to learn more about your advances. Hopefully we can arrange that in the future.

    Best regards,

    Daniel Beltrán-Alcrudo, LinkTADs Coordinator

  • Anonymous

    Dear friends, congratulations for the initiative…

    My name is Fernando Rodriguez, Researcher from CReSA (Barcelona, Spain).

    Despite I agree with most of the conclusions presented in your document, I must recognize my disappointment with the lack of news about the potential role that an efficient vaccine (when available) against African swine fever virus (ASFV) could play in the future control of the disease.

    Conversely to the general thought, we (and others) have clear evidences demonstrating that OBTAINING A VACCINE AGAINST ASFV IS FEASIBLE; Reaching a Market will be a matter of investment, time, and willingness from all actors involved, including public administrations, private companies and international agencies such as FAO and OIE.

    Thank you for your attention and congratulations again for your work

    Sincerely yours:

    Fernando Rodriguez (Fernando.rodriguez@cresa.uab.cat)

    Principal Investigator of a Research line devoted to ASFV vaccine development   

    & Coordinator of the EXOTICS-Subprogram of Research at CReSA

  • Anonymous

    Dear friends, congratulations for the initiative…

    My name is Fernando Rodriguez, Researcher from CReSA (Barcelona, Spain).

    Despite I agree with most of the conclusions presented in your document, I must recognize my disappointment with the lack of news about the potential role that an efficient vaccine (when available) against African swine fever virus (ASFV) could play in the future control of the disease.

    Conversely to the general thought, we (and others) have clear evidences demonstrating that OBTAINING A VACCINE AGAINST ASFV IS FEASIBLE; Reaching a Market will be a matter of investment, time, and willingness from all actors involved, including public administrations, private companies and international agencies such as FAO and OIE.

    Thank you for your attention and congratulations again for your work

    Sincerely yours:

    Fernando Rodriguez (Fernando.rodriguez@cresa.uab.cat)

    Principal Investigator of a Research line devoted to ASFV vaccine development   

    & Coordinator of the EXOTICS-Subprogram of Research at CReSA