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North Korea scientists develop African swine fever diagnosis, state media says

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korea state media said Tuesday scientists are combating African swine fever with new methods of analysis. File Photo by Andrew Wong/UPI
North Korea state media said Tuesday scientists are combating African swine fever with new methods of analysis. File Photo by Andrew Wong/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 19 (UPI) -- North Korea state media claimed Tuesday scientists have developed a new diagnostic method for African swine fever.

Propaganda service Meari said Tuesday researchers at North Korea's veterinary research institute have developed a new "genetic analysis" to diagnose African swine fever. The method is highly effective, Meari said.

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Scientists at the North Korean institute have also developed a vaccine that can prevent foot-and-mouth disease, a severe, highly contagious viral disease among cattle.

The Kim Jong Un regime could be battling African swine fever since May 30, when it first reported the disease at its border with China.

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North Korea's pig population may have decreased by more than 55 percent as a result of the disease.

In China, the meat substitute industry is rolling out new products as African swine fever takes its toll on pig farms and pork prices rise amid a trade dispute with the United States.

Chinese firms Zhenmeat and Starfield are some of the plant-based companies that are looking to diversify its products. Zhenmeat, a relatively new startup, creates a meat-like product out of pea-based protein in its moon cakes, CNBC reported Tuesday.

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"We are analyzing the flavoring behind pork meat, and we are taking on that to make a difference between our competitor from the United States," said Zhenmeat co-founder Vince Lu.

African swine fever also spread to South Korea earlier this year, where troops were deployed to the demilitarized zone to guard against the disease.

South Korean farms in the border region may be recovering, however.

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Newsis reported Tuesday farms in four areas in Gyeonggi Province that were affected have not reported new cases of African swine fever for more than two months.

The ASF virus was not found in recent inspections of farm equipment and facilities, raising the possibility of lifting restrictions on livestock in the area, according to the report.

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