The U.S. Department of Agriculture is researching vaccines that could protect pigs against a deadly viral disease.

African Swine Fever hasn’t been found in America, but was detected last year in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. No commercial vaccine is available.

During a recent visit to Iowa, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said there’s progress on a potential vaccine for pigs.

“We actually have five or six vaccines that we’re working on, one of which is currently under some test trials in Vietnam, and at least the initial round of tests are very, very positive,” Vilsack says, “so the hope is we eventually get to a point where we develop those vaccines.”

Vilsack says the U.S.D.A. hopes to open a facility in Manhattan, Kansas in 2024 where it can research and develop animal vaccines. Vilsack says the agency has been doing a lot of this work in New York, but that would move to the lab in Kansas, which could open in 2024.

“That’s a lab that’s, from a biosafety perspective, really tight,” he says, “so we’ll be able to do a little bit more accelerated work on vaccines.”

Vilsack says the agency will study animal diseases that could come from another country and animal diseases that could infect humans.

(Katie Peikes, Iowa Public Radio)