China aims to standardize ASF diagnostic kits

China aims to standardize ASF diagnostic kits

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New rules will take effect January 1

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs aims to standardize the production and use of test kits used to diagnose African swine fever (ASF) by next year.

There are several different types of ASF test kits available in China, with varying degrees of quality and efficacy. The ministry said that, beginning January 1, 2021, “all products used by provincial authorities in order to issue animal health certificates or for other disease monitoring purposes must have obtained an approval number from the ministry to ensure the accuracy of the results,” according to a Reuters report.

Beginning September 1, production must cease on any ASF diagnostic products that have not been tested by the authorities, has failed the test or has been tested but is not registered. Kits that have been tested and registered but have not received approval can continue to be manufactured until the end of the year, Reuters said.

2 years since first ASF cases in China

August marked the second anniversary of the first cases of ASF in China. OIE describes the global pattern of distribution of ASF since the first outbreak as a “serious deterioration,” particularly in Europe and Asia.

Since 2016, ASF has been detected among domestic pigs in 30 African states, and 14 in Asia, according to the latest review of the global situation from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Based on official reports received, the numbers of animals lost to the disease so far are 6.734 million in Asia and 85,539 in Africa. Together with outbreaks in Europe, the total number of pigs lost to ASF worldwide over the period now stands at more than 8.2 million animals. ASF virus has been detected in 60 countries.

In recent weeks, OIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly described ASF as a major crisis for the global pork industry, and called for a called for a new international cooperation to tackle the disease.

View our continuing coverage of the African swine fever outbreak.