Live attenuated african swine fever viruses as ideal tools to dissect the mechanisms involved in cross-protection

Elisabeth Lopez, Juanita van Heerden, Laia Bosch-Camós, Francesc Accensi, Maria Jesus Navas, Paula López-Monteagudo, Jordi Argilaguet, Carmina Gallardo, Sonia Pina-Pedrero, Maria Luisa Salas, Jeremy Salt, Fernando Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


African swine fever (ASF) has become the major threat for the global swine industry. Furthermore, the epidemiological situation of African swine fever virus (ASFV) in some endemic regions of Sub-Saharan Africa is worse than ever, with multiple virus strains and genotypes currently circulating in a given area. Despite the recent advances on ASF vaccine development, there are no commercial vaccines yet, and most of the promising vaccine prototypes available today have been specifically designed to fight the genotype II strains currently circulating in Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Previous results from our laboratory have demonstrated the ability of BA71∆CD2, a recombinant LAV lacking CD2v, to confer protection against homologous (BA71) and heterologous genotype I (E75) and genotype II (Georgia2007/01) ASFV strains, both belonging to same clade (clade C). Here, we extend these results using BA71∆CD2 as a tool trying to understand ASFV cross-protection, using phylogenetically distant ASFV strains. We first observed that five out of six (83.3%) of the pigs immunized once with 106 PFU of BA71∆CD2 survived the tick-bite challenge using Ornithodoros sp. soft ticks naturally infected with RSA/11/2017 strain (genotype XIX, clade D). Second, only two out of six (33.3%) survived the challenge with Ken06.Bus (genotype IX, clade A), which is phylogenetically more distant to BA71∆CD2 than the RSA/11/2017 strain. On the other hand, homologous prime-boosting with BA71∆CD2 only improved the survival rate to 50% after Ken06.Bus challenge, all suffering mild ASF-compatible clinical signs, while 100% of the pigs immunized with BA71∆CD2 and boosted with the parental BA71 virulent strain survived the lethal challenge with Ken06.Bus, without almost no clinical signs of the disease. Our results confirm that cross-protection is a multifactorial phenomenon that not only depends on sequence similarity. We believe that understanding this complex phenomenon will be useful for designing future vaccines for ASF-endemic areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1474
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • African swine fever virus
  • Cross-protection
  • Live attenuate vaccine


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