A quarter of all pigs raised in the world could die of African swine fever according to a press release issued by the Associated Press which incorporates a statement by the president of the world animal health organization, Mark Schipp. The statement makes it clear how seriously this viral disease that is affecting pig populations on farms around the world is taken seriously by institutions.
In addition to possible food shortages that would raise the prices of all food deriving from pigs, a greater spread of this disease could also lead to shortages of other products, first of all heparin, an anticoagulant drug that is obtained from the mucous membrane of the intestine or from the lung of pigs. This drug is on the list of essential drugs for the World Health Organization and is considered to be a key drug.
What is most worrying is the spread of this disease that is occurring among pig populations in China, a nation that has the largest pig farms in the world in which the price of pork has already been over the past year has doubled.
This is the biggest threat among any cattle ever raised by man, says Schipp bluntly. Schipp himself reminds us that this disease will not lead to direct consequences for humans, in the sense that the virus itself is not transmissible from pig to human.
As for any vaccines, Schipp himself admits that several steps forward have been made but a complete product has not yet been reached, also because the virus is very complex.