Deletion of virulence associated genes from attenuated African swine fever virus isolate OUR T88/3 decreases its ability to protect against challenge with virulent virus

African swine fever virus (ASFV) causes an acute haemorrhagic disease of domestic pigs against which there is no effective vaccine. The attenuated ASFV strain OUR T88/3 has been shown previously to protect vaccinated pigs against challenge with some virulent strains including OUR T88/1. Two genes, DP71L and DP96R were deleted from the OUR T88/3 genome to create recombinant virus OUR T88/3?DP2. Deletion of these genes from virulent viruses has previously been shown to reduce ASFV virulence in domestic pigs. Groups of 6 pigs were immunised with deletion virus OUR T88/3?DP2 or parental virus OUR T88/3 and challenged with virulent OUR T88/1 virus. Four pigs (66%) were protected by inoculation with the deletion virus OUR T88/3?DP2 compared to 100% protection with the parental virus OUR T88/3. Thus the deletion of the two genes DP71L and DP96R from OUR T88/3 strain reduced its ability to protect pigs against challenge with virulent virus.

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