African swine fever virus (ASFV)

African swine fever (ASF) is caused by the African swine fever virus, a large, double-stranded DNA virus. The virus can cause haemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in pigs. However, mortality rates can vary broadly, depending on the virulence of the virus. Some isolates can cause death of animals in as little as a week after infection. ASFV does not replicate readily in any species other than swine. 

The virus is highly resistant to changes in pH and temperature (freeze/thaw cycles) and can remain infectious for many months at room temperature or when stored at 4ºC. Virus in body fluids and serum is inactivated after 30 min at 60ºC, but virus in unprocessed pig meat, in which it can remain viable for several weeks, can be inactivated only by heating to 70ºC for 30 min.

ASF is a disease listed in the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code and must be reported to the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code.

VetMAX African Swine Fever Virus Detection Kit

The Applied Biosystems VetMAX African Swine Fever Virus Detection Kit has been used since the 2015 outbreaks in Europe, Africa, and Asia for clinical confirmation and detection of ASFV in domestic and wild pigs. This real-time PCR-based test is the first OIE-registered kit for ASF and has been validated by the OIE as fit-for-purpose for the detection of ASFV in blood, serum, and tissues of domestic and wild pigs (including wild boars).

The VetMAX ASFV Detection Kit is a useful tool for early detection of ASFV in various matrices from pigs and wild boars in order to confirm a diagnosis and help ensure the pigs are free of ASFV. It helps enable control of the spread of disease and monitors circulating virus following outbreaks.

Features of theVetMAX ASFV Detection Kit include:

  • Validated by the European Union Reference Laboratory for ASF (EURL, CISA-INIA, Spain)
  • Validated by the OIE and listed in the OIE Register of diagnostic kits
  • Detects all ASFV genotypes
  • Allows users to test pools of up to 10 samples
  • Contains a ready-to-use master mix for the detection of the ASFV target and the internal positive control (IPC)
  • Delivers results in less than three hours

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Kit specifications

TechnologySpeciesSamplesTest type
Real-time PCR
  • Duplex assay
  • Exogenous IPC
Domestic pig
Wild boar
Individual or pooled samples up to 10

Real-time PCR workflow from sampling to result


Direct samples or those collected using GenoTube Livestock Swabs


36 min using the MagMAX CORE Nucleic Acid Purification Kit with a KingFisher instrument


90 min using the VetMAX ASFV Detection Kit with a real-time PCR instrument such as the QuantStudio 5 system

Detection of ASF in meat samples

The diagnostic workflow that includes the VetMAX African Swine Fever Virus Detection Kit and the Applied Biosystems MagMAX CORE Nucleic Acid Purification Kit is also suited for the detection of ASFV in food matrices, including cooked sausage meat.

 White paper: ASFV detection in food matrices

Diagnostic sensitivity

The VetMAX African Swine Fever Virus Detection Kit was evaluated by EURL on 424 positive samples coming from field genotype II ASFV-infected areas within Asian and European countries. The kit detected 384 positive samples, resulting in a sensitivity of 91%. And it had a good concordance with an OIE reference ASF test (UPL-PCR). The kappa coefficient (ĸ) was 0.87% (95% Cl), which indicates perfect agreement between the two tests.

Inclusivity and exclusivity

PCR inclusivity was evaluated on a panel of 58 reference samples from CISA-INIA and CVI (Central Veterinary Institute, the Netherlands). The VetMAX African Swine Fever Virus Detection Kit correctly detected all ASF strains from CISA-INIA and CVI panels and didn’t show cross-reaction with other pathogens.