BioCopy Holding AG and the Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) have announced to collaborate in researching a vaccine and developing new diagnostic methods in the fight against African swine fever (ASF). Fatal to pigs and wild boar, the ASF virus reached Eastern Germany in 2020 after circulating in Eastern Europe for many years. The virus has since continued to spread in the wild boar population and it is only a matter of time before it passes to domestic pigs. Aside from the suffering the animals must endure, ASF has an enormous potential for economic damage. Losses due to potential export restrictions are estimated at € 6 billion for Germany alone, as infection in wild boars can complicate or even block meat exports. No vaccine exists as yet, but both a vaccine and new diagnostic tools are essential in order to combat this disease. Diagnostic methods that could distinguish reliably between vaccinated and infected pigs would be especially valuable.
The highly innovative protein mapping platform developed by BioCopy, and sera and genomic material supplied by the IVI, will be used to identify immunological target proteins of the ASF virus. This information is a necessary first step in developing a vaccine and is invaluable to develop better diagnostics. The complexity of the ASF virus has so far prevented the development of a vaccine using traditional methods. The innovative and efficient BioCopy technique will allow the co-operators to build a crucial basis in achieving this goal, but it may take years of research before a vaccine becomes available. The BioCopy platform can be used for any pathogen and can play a significant role in containing future pandemics.
About Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI):
The Federal Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) is Switzerland’s reference laboratory for the diagnosis, monitoring and research of highly infectious epizootic diseases, including viral zoonoses (infectious diseases that are transmissible between animals and humans). The IVI is also responsible for the approval and monitoring of animal vaccines and immune sera for use in veterinary medicine. As part of a cooperation agreement with the Vetsuisse faculty of the University of Bern, the IVI is also responsible for teaching and research in the fields of virology and immunology. Research activities encompass both basic and applied research and provide an important basis for the control of epizootic diseases and zoonoses. The IVI reports to the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO).