The National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom was established in 1924 as a National Central Veterinary Laboratory and represents Nigeria’s largest grouping of Veterinarians and Research Scientist with the responsibilities of diagnosis and research into all animal diseases of economic and public health importance. From the control of Rinderpest in West Africa that was responsible for 90% of death in cattle to other transboundary and zoonotic diseases using diagnostic tools and vaccine production.
Pig production represents an important economic source of income animal protein globally.
In Nigeria, the estimated pig population grew from 2 million in 1984 to about 7 million in 1997 and 7.18 million by 2009. The rapid increase was associated with government agricultural initiatives aimed at boosting agricultural production and alleviating poverty among the rural and urban poor. However, ASF outbreaks that spread uncontrolled throughout the country leading to massive mortality in pig populations in most areas where outbreaks had occurred, thereby eroded the gains made.
About the project
The ASF RESIST project aims to determine the transmission dynamics of African swine fever (ASF) at the livestock-wildlife interface in an endemic setting. To achieve this aim, the project will undertake a comprehensive molecular epidemiological analysis to investigate the distribution, pattern of spread, and full genome characteristics of ASF virus (ASFV) in Nigeria.
The Biotechnology Division of the National Veterinary Research Institute is a well-established facility with a team of research scientists from diverse but closely related disciplines such as evolutionary Biology, Virology, Epidemiology and population genetics. Our main research is focused on seeking to understand and explain processes that drive diversification in a wide range of taxa including large mammals of Africa and their diseases. The underlying hypothesis is that, it is through understanding these processes that we are able to design appropriate conservation and disease control strategies. In recent years, our research scope has expanded and we are now trying to understand why some selected viral diseases persist despite the several control measures (e.g. Foot-and-mouth disease, and African swine fever in East Africa). The hypothesis is that rapid change in the genomes of these viruses could underlie this phenomenon. Our current team includes 3 PhD and 1 master students doing research on different aspects of molecular evolution, sustainable utilisation and conservation of biological resources. Facilities for these studies are available at our laboratory.
To increase our understanding of the epidemiology, transmission and persistent factors of ASF in Nigeria and control strategies.
Objectives Through this action, we specifically aim to:
- determine the phenotype-genotype traits of pigs that survive ASF outbreaks (the possibility of carriers/ASF resistant pigs). This will give us insights on why the ASF disease keeps insidious in some cases.
- develop a community-based participatory biosecurity approach to reduce ASF outbreaks for improved pig production. This will result into a community-owned strategy that will be effective for ASF prevention and control.
- evaluate/validate a selection of currently available ASF rapid diagnostics tests for use in resource constrained and outbreak situations in order to speed up disease identification and limit disease spread. Through this we expect that early and appropriate ASF diagnosis will reduce the spread of the disease.
- determine the genetic characteristics and patterns of transmission of ASFV from under represented genotypes (especially Nigeria) for strategic disease prevention. This will highlight the important break points to prevent disease spread.