In order to be prepared in case of ASFV emergence in Switzerland and effectively contribute to the local and regional efforts to control the disease, it is essential for the IVI to reinforce its research program on ASFV and dedicate technical and scientific expertise in the field. To this end, and to address the selected gaps outlined above, important goals are to understand the specificities of recent genotype II ASF isolates as opposed to endemic genotype I strains with respect to disease manifestation, virus persistence, disease immunopathogenesis, and virus-host interaction. The development of cell culture platforms for rapid and reliable isolation of ASFV from field material is also of high priority. Finally, the experiments planned will also permit the acquisition of practical experience with clinical and pathological cases and the investigation and validation of disinfection procedures. Therefore, the specific aims of this study are:
1) to characterize the phenotype of selected recent genotype II ASF isolates from Eastern Europe in comparison with a prototype genotype I isolate in Swiss Large White pigs of different hygiene status, i.e. in conventional versus SPF pigs.
2) to study the targets, functions and type of antibody responses in the immunopathogenesis of ASF and in protection against infection versus persistence.
3) to identify the cellular factors that restrict the replication of ASFV to porcine macrophages.