Team:Shanghai HS United



African Swine Fever virus, ASFv, is a double-stranded DNA virus fatal to pigs. ASFv reached China in 2018 and epidemic was reported on August 2nd. When infected by ASFv, symptoms such as diarrhea are identified on pigs; to prevent dissemination, effective detection is momentous as the infected population must be quarantined. However, the current method in China is inefficient while the virus could spread and cause immeasurable economic loss in pork-consuming countries. Shanghai HS United iGEM team shows an innovative method to detect ASFv among the pigs by test strips with FITC probes to determine the result’s positivity. Our results demonstrate loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and Cas12a reaction together shorten the detection and satisfies our three aims — simplicity, immediacy, and accuracy. We believe our method is practical and operational by the pig owners and is cheaper and more effective than PCR, so treatments can be instantly implemented.

What Do “Pigs” And The African Swine Fever Virus Mean To China?

As one of the largest pork importing (consuming) countries in the world, China’s one major economic sources is its domestic pork markets, importing more than 1,192,828 tons of pork in 2018, and now half of the entire pig population around the world lives in China. The outburst of the African Swine Fever Virus (ASFv) since 2018 threatened thousands of pigs owners in China as it is an extremely contagious disease that is deadly to pigs.

What did we do?

For ASFv early diagnosis, it should only be detected in specialized laboratories with current techniques. Our team modified the Cas12a detection method, which combined with LAMP amplification and lateral flow. Our experiment has discover the most effective set of conditions that would allow the entire detection system to be rapid, simple, and accurate through the use of test papers. However, there are certain disadvantages in our method: even with the addition of UDG, the final detected results still show evidence of contamination. To prevent aerosol contamination, we specially designed our kit with a simple device to be as enclosed as possible to avoid exposure to the atmosphere.