VIDO-InterVac is the first non-government facility in Canada to work with the ASF virus. (Photo: Tom Arban)

VIDO-InterVac to conduct African swine fever research

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has announced that the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) will work with African swine fever (ASF). This move further supports Canada’s preparedness strategy by increasing the country's research capacity.

This complements ongoing collaborations between the CFIA and VIDO-InterVac aimed at developing and testing vaccines and antivirals for ASF – a deadly and fast spreading viral disease that is killing millions of pigs worldwide and could devastate Canada's pork industry.

In January, VIDO-InterVac will commence work with the ASF virus in its Containment Level 3-Agriculture (CL3-Ag) facility in Saskatoon.

VIDO-InterVac will be the first non-government facility in Canada to work with the ASF virus.

As there are currently no vaccines or treatments approved for use against this pig disease, this research is an important step towards the development and testing of vaccines and antivirals for ASF that could serve to protect Canada’s pork sector.

VIDO-InterVac has developed several new vaccines for animal diseases that include porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia.

Work on African swine fever (ASF) virus will be conducted in VIDO-InterVac’s Containment Level-3 facility. (Photo: Debra Marshall)


“With the spread of ASF in other parts of the world, the Government of Canada is taking a leadership role to protect our pork industry, economy and Canadians’ jobs. Supporting research towards an ASF vaccine is one of many ways that we are working to mitigate the global impact of ASF.”

  • The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Science plays an important role in the fight against ASF. Supporting VIDO-InterVac’s vaccine research is a key step forward in stopping the progress of this deadly disease.”

  • Jaspinder Komal, Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada

“CFIA’s support increases Canada’s international contribution to combat the spread of ASF. This is a prime example of how this CL3-Ag infrastructure supports national priorities against emerging infectious disease and the development of solutions that mitigate their impact.”

  • Volker Gerdts, Director, VIDO-InterVac

Quick Facts

  • In 2018, approximately $4 billion worth of Canadian pork was exported to 87 countries, making Canada a top-three exporter of pork in the world.
  • Canada’s pork industry supports more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributes about $24 billion annually to the Canadian economy.
  • ASF has never been detected in Canada.
  • ASF does not pose a food safety risk.

About ASF

  • ASF is a fast-spreading virus that is estimated to have killed millions of pigs worldwide, both through the disease and herds culled to prevent its spread.
  • The disease is spreading through parts of Asia and Europe, and currently affects all continents except the Americas.
  • ASF only affects pigs, both farmed and wild, and cannot be transmitted to humans.

About VIDO-InterVac

The University of Saskatchewan’s VIDO-InterVac is internationally recognized for its role in vaccine development and is one of Canada’s major national science facilities. VIDO-InterVac has a history of vaccine development and commercialization – eight of its vaccines have been sold commercially, and six have been described as world-firsts. Three more vaccines are in clinical development.

VIDO-InterVac was created in 1975. The 150-member organization operates using an ISO:9001 certified management system in state-of-the-art containment level 2 and 3 facilities. VIDO-InterVac receives financial support from the Government of Canada, Government of Saskatchewan, industry, foundations and producer groups. www.vido.org 

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency 
Media relations: 613-773-6600
Follow us on social media 
Twitter: @InspectionCan

Trenna Brusky
Marketing Coordinator
(306) 966-2274
Twitter @vidointervac

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