African swine fever (ASF) is the cause of a recent pandemic that is posing a threat to much of the world swine production. The etiological agent, ASF virus (ASFV), infects domestic and wild swine, producing a variety of clinical presentations depending on the virus strain and the genetic background of the pigs infected. No commercial vaccine is currently available, although recombinant live attenuated vaccine candidates have been shown to be efficacious. In addition to determining efficacy, it is paramount to evaluate the safety profile of a live attenuated vaccine. The presence of residual virulence and the possibility of reversion to virulence are two of the concerns that must be evaluated in the development of live attenuated vaccines. Here we evaluate the safety profile of an efficacious live attenuated vaccine candidate, ASFV-G-ΔI177L. Results from safety studies showed that ASFV-G-ΔI177L remains genetically stable and phenotypically attenuated during a five-passage reversion to virulence study in domestic swine. In addition, large-scale experiments to detect virus shedding and transmission confirmed that even under varying conditions, ASFV-G-ΔI177L is a safe live attenuated vaccine.
Keywords: ASF; ASFV; African swine fever; I177L; reversion to virulence; swine; vaccine.