Mon, Apr 15, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Taipei firm develops rapid test for African swine fever

Staff writer, with CNA

A rapid test kit developed for African swine fever has been recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Taipei-based Excelsior Bio-System said on Saturday, making it the first such test provider in Asia.

The kit can diagnose in 10 minutes if a hog has contracted African swine fever by detecting the presence of antibodies to the virus protein p30, even if the disease is still in the incubation period, said the company, whose headquarters is in Neihu District (內湖).

The testing method can ascertain a case of African swine fever as early as 14 days after a hog is infected, faster than the only other rapid test kit, which is made by a Spanish firm, Excelsior executive Chang Chuan-hsing (張權星) said.

The Spanish test targets antibodies against virus protein p72 of African swine fever, which is generated later in the development of the disease, Chang said.

The incubation period for African swine fever ranges from four to 19 days, and specific antibodies can be detectable from day seven, he said.

While Excelsior’s test kit does not have to use a laboratory and can be used at airports or on farms, it works only on live animals, the company said.

The Council of Agriculture said it has no plans to use the test kit at present, as Taiwan is not an endemic area for African swine fever, and the virus has only been found in dead pigs washed ashore from China and in pork products carried by travelers.

The government has taken a strong stance against the import of pork products from nations affected by African swine fever, with first-time offenders facing a fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,484) and repeat offenders a fine of NT$1 million.

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