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Commercially available cell line rapidly detects ASF virus

USDA
USDA scientists have identified a cell line that can be used to isolate and detect the presence of the live virus in a timely manner.

Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have identified a new way to detect the presence of live African swine fever (ASF) virus that minimizes the need for samples from live animals and provides easier access to veterinary labs that need to diagnose the virus.

“We have identified a cell line that can be used to isolate and detect the presence of the live virus,” said ARS scientist Douglas Gladue in a news release. “This is a critical breakthrough and a tremendous step for African swine fever virus diagnostics.”

Until now, studying the ASF virus has required collecting blood cells from a live donor pig for every diagnostic test because the cells could only be used once. The new cell line can be continuously replicated and frozen to create cells for future use, reducing the number of live donor animals needed. The new cell line is also commercially available to veterinary diagnostic labs that traditionally do not have access to swine blood cells needed to test for live ASF virus.

A provisional patent application for the research was filed in April 2020, and the technology is now available for license. ARS scientists at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Plum Island, New York, will continue to perform research and work toward finding tools to control the spread of ASF should it ever enter the nation.