(File photo) Agriculture Secretary William Dar speaking during a press conference of the department on the results of the confirmatory laboratory test results on the affected pigs found positive for African Swine Fever (ASF) (Photo courtesy DA website)

(Eagle News) – The Department of Agriculture is still waiting for the result of another laboratory test that will identify how virulent is the type of African Swine Fever virus that hit the country.

The initial Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test on the swine blood samples collected from small backyard farms in Rizal had already confirmed that the pigs which mysteriously died there were positive for African Swine Fever (ASF)

The PCR test result from the World Reference Laboratory in Pirthbright, England, which is also the World Organization for Animal Health Reference Laboratory for African Swine Fever (ASF), confirmed that majority of the blood samples were ASF positive.

But Agriculture secretary Dar said that the department still needed to know “how virulent” were the viruses that hit the ASF-affected pigs.

“Hindi pa natin alam ngayon how virulent these viruses are. Hihintayin pa natin kung ito ba ay weak or harmful ASF,” he said.

According to the European Union Reference Laboratory for ASF, the PCR amplifies small fragments of viral DNA to detectable quantities enabling rapid diagnosis of ASF. The PCR test result serves as basis for authorities to perform necessary measures accordingly.

Dar had earlier assured the public that the DA is on top of the situation.

“We have already suspended the ground operations in Rizal and will now focus on cleaning and disinfection operations,” he said in an earlier press briefing.

“We will remain vigilant and continue to vigorously conduct surveillance and quarantine measures,” he added.

The DA also directed the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to collect and send blood samples for testing after receiving reports of suspected swine disease.