Initial testing for the African Swine Fever (ASF) on Samoan livestock have come back negative. The Scientific Research Organization of Samoa has confirmed reiterating no trace of the deadly virus is in Samoan pigs.
This is all made possible according to SROS Chief, Seuseu Dr. Joseph Edward Tauati with the establishment of a Center of Samoa Cancer Research under SROS umbrella. The Center also has the capacity to test various diseases and viruses. “At the moment, SROS is keeping a close eye on two threats the world is facing, the COVID19 pandemic testing and the African Swine Fever which is deadly towards pigs,” Seuseu said.
“We’re now able to test for COVID and ASF here at SROS and the first tests we’ve done on locally bred pigs have come back negative,” he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F) initially placed heavy restrictions on the sale and use of imported pork products in mid-March this year.
Following the temporary ban, MAF called upon SROS if they can assume tests for ASF in Samoa.
“Our response was that we have the expertise and the human resources at SROS to do the testing, but the problem was that we didn’t have the right equipment to do such testing,” said Seuseu.
“Luckily, we were able to acquire the assistance from the UNDP and UNESCO through a proposal from our Government, and they supplied the top of the line machines we now have testing local pigs,” said Seuseu.
At the Cancer research center, SROS has already concluded tests for ASF for Vailoa, Aleipata area. Seuseu says the results exhibited no trace of the ASF in the livestock in that area of Samoa.
Seuseu says SROS is open to testing other parts of the country but would require the farmers and livestock owners to bring in a live sample for testing.
ASF initially emerged on the radar for the Food and Agriculture Organization (F.A.O) on February 19, 2019. In March 2020, Samoa placed temporary bans on all pork products from Australia including canned pork goods.
SROS is now also able to test for COVID19 at their cancer research center in Tanugamanono.