During our brainstorming session in Dec 2018, numerous pig carcasses floated onto the coastline of Kinmen, Taiwan, and tested positive for African swine fever virus (ASFV). This event serves as a reminder of the severity of the ASFV plague in the Asia continent.
Currently there are around 5.5 million pigs in Taiwan. If the plague were spread to Taiwan, the effects on Taiwanese society and the domestic economy will be unmeasurable, considering the massive dependency of the population on pork products.
To prevent this tragedy, we decided to develop a device to prevent a widespread epidemic by early detection of ASFV. Thus, we have designed an automated, portable, user-friendly robotic testing instrument called ASFAST. The machine provides a minilab employing the specialized functions of the CRISPR-Cas system and fluorescent dye, PicoGreen.