African swine fever virus (ASFV) specific, cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity has been studied in a protection model in which SLA inbred miniature swine are experimentally inoculated with a naturally occurring, non-fatal ASFV isolate (NHV). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from such infected swine show significant activity in CTL assays, using cultured ASFV-infected porcine blood derived macrophages as target cells. This CTL activity is elicited from PBMC by in vitro restimulation of effector cells with low doses (multiplicity of infection = 0.1) of the homologous virus isolate for 48 to 72 h. For SLAc/c effectors, this CTL activity appears to be SLA class I restricted because (1) blocking target cell antigens with monoclonal antibodies (mAb) against SLA class I antigens causes a major reduction in CTL activity; (2) there is preferential lysis of SLA class I matched, ASFV infected targets; and (3) depletion of effector cells with CD8 specific mAb and complement causes a reduction in CTL activity. The CTL activity is ASFV specific for all pigs tested in that infected macrophages are preferentially lysed as compared to normal (non-infected) cultured macrophages or macrophages infected with hog cholera virus (HCV). Lysis of macrophages infected with different ASFV isolates revealed that there is marked lysis of macrophages infected with the virulent L60 isolate but less lysis of macrophages infected with the DR-II and Tengani isolates. In summary, our data show that ASFV specific CTL activity is triggered in swine infected with the NHV ASFV isolate.