African swine fever - recent research advances and
strategies to combat the disease in Europe

Puławy, Poland, 6-8 December 2016

COST Action CA15116: Understanding and combating African Swine Fever in Europe (ASF-STOP)

I’d like to personally welcome each of you to the international conference African swine fever – recent research advances and strategies to combat the disease in Europe. It is a challenging time for us, scientists, as African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to advance in Europe. ASF is an exciting topic on which to work and research, and we need to meet and bring people together in forums like this, to ensure our combat against this devastating disease remains at the cutting edge.

The main goal of this conference is to provide a platform for exchange of knowledge on ASF and to create or reinforce networking opportunities internationally. The associated workshops ASF Vaccinology and Researchers meet European industrial partners further contribute to achieve this goal. The Poster-Communications Session for Early Career Investigators gives the opportunity to young researchers to communicate their scientific achievements.

ASF can have terrible effects. It can cause massive loss of animals and can have a very important economic impact due to trade restrictions and costly control and eradication programmes.  ASF has been present in Russia and neighbouring countries since 2007 and entered the European Union (EU) in 2014, Poland being one of the four EU countries so far affected.

The ASF problem is complex and needs to be solved with integrated input from multiple disciplines, including wild boar ecology, behaviour and management, epidemiology of infection in wild boar and domestic pigs, vaccinology, molecular biology, biosecurity, pig production, surveillance, diagnostics, contingency planning, communications and policy making.

The COST Action Understanding and Combating African Swine Fever in Europe (ASF-STOP) brings together widespread expertise on ASF across Europe and beyond.  Very specially, ASF-STOP aims at inclusive collaboration with a good gender balance, wide geographical representation (28 countries participate!) and creation of opportunities for early career investigators.

Let’s  tackle the ASF challenge together, we need each and all of you!  Welcome to the conference African swine fever – recent research advances and strategies to combat the disease in Europe kindly hosted by our colleagues in beautiful Poland.

Dolores Gavier-Widén

Description of the Pulawy events 6-8th December 2016

All participants to the conference need to register and pay fees (deadline to pay fees is 24th November). Registration to the conference includes participation at the workshops too. To take part of only a workshop (no conference), please register and pay fees to the workshop.

All presenations and discussions will be in English but there will be translation into Polish.

Participants eligible and approved for financing by ASF-STOP will receive an official invitation from COST and will not need to pay fees but also need to register using the registration form.

ASF-STOP Core group meeting: Meeting for the members of the Core group only

The core group of ASF-STOP is a subgroup of the Management Committee and it is formed by the chair, vice-chair, working group leaders and coordinator of the Short Term Scientific Missions. A main task of the group is to prepare briefings for the Management Committee (MC) in preparation for decision-taking by the committee. The Core group also takes minor decisions, with mandate from the MC.

ASF-STOP Working Groups meetings: Meetings for participants of ASF-STOP Working Groups

ASF-STOP has 5 Working Groups (WG)  ( according to disciplines.  Each group has a leader and a vice-leader  and the participants  are scientists from the COST participating countries of ASF-STOP. Many scientists work on disciplines across more than one WG. The WGs interact with each other and may hold meetings together. WGs work towards the scientific tasks and objectives of the Action.

The detailed programme for the WG meetings will be made by the WG leaders and will be posted later.

ASF-STOP Management Committee meeting: meeting for  MC members and MC observers only

The Management Committee (MC) is comprised of up to two MC Members per Participating COST Country. MC members are nominated by their respective COST National Coordinator (CNC). The purpose of the MC Meeting is to coordinate and organise the Action’s scientific and networking activities in line with the objectives specified in both the Action’s MoU and the approved Work and Budget Plans. 

ASF-STOP Launching Conference “African swine fever - recent research advances and
strategies to combat the disease in Europe”

The conference is open to the scientific community in Europe and globally. There will be the following Scientific Sessions: 

- Session Virology, vaccinology and diagnostics
- Session ASF in wild boar
- Session ASF in domestic swine
- Session Epidemiology, control and prevention of ASF
- Session ASF in wild boar and epidemiology

The abstracts for oral and poster presentations will be selected by the Scientific Committee.  You are welcome to submit an abstract before the deadline of 20th October.

Two international invited speakers, Dr Lina Mur (Department of Diagnostic Medicine, Pathobiology College of Veterinary Medicine Kansas State University, US) and Dr Charles Masembe (Makerere University, College of Natural Sciences, Kampala, Uganda) will contribute with plenary presentations.

An Early Career Investigator poster Session will be specially dedicated to poster presentations of  young investigators and students. There will be prizes and opportunities for short oral presentations of the winner posters!

Workshop Advances in Vaccinology 

This workshop is open to any participants who would like to be informed and take part of discussions about the latest advancements on the vaccine-development front for ASF. Invited speakers include Dr Shawn Babiuk (Canada) and Dr Alexander Malogolovkin (Russian Federation).

Workshop Researchers link European industrial partners

The workshop brings together non-academic actors from industry and researchers and  is open to any participants.

The workshop aims at enabling fruitful collaboration between scientists and business, facilitating application of research into commercial development of tools to combat ASF. The scientists will interact directly with the industrial partners to explore opportunities to translate research findings into commercial products such as development of improved diagnostic kits, safe and practical devices for transport of samples, protective clothes to work on pig farms enabling high biosecurity,  and techniques for non-invasive sampling of wild boar, such as materials to collect saliva for virus and antibody detection. 

There will be 10 exhibition booths free of charge for the industrial partners to present their products.  Industrial partners are welcome to express their interest to participate by emailing the Action Chair, Dolores Gavier-Widén (

Trip to Białowieża (8-9 Dec)

Departure from Puławy to Białowieża: 8 December after lunch. Accommodation in Białowieża, departure from Białowieża to Warsaw: 9 December.

For those who wish, the local organizers are planning to arrange an after-conference trip to Białowieża National Park, a primeval forest abundant with wildlife, including European bisons, wolves, lynx, deer, wild boar. For more information go to Due to the expected unfavourable weather conditions in December, the buses will leave from Puławy to Białowieża on the 8th of December after lunch with an overnight stay in local hotels in Białowieża, and visit in the National Park on the 9th of December (until lunch).

Please note that the trip to Białowieza is not reimbursed from COST and each participant will have to pay separately for this event.
The cost of transport will be provided later (we are currently negotiating prices).

Here is a draft programme of the visit:

8th December:
19.00–20.00 arrival in Bialowieza, accommodation in the hotel Zubrowka – approx. 300 PLN/night (≈80 EUR/night) – We will book the hotel for you based on the registration form you provided.

9th December:
7.30–9.00   Breakfast
9.00–12.00   Visit in the Park
Possible options (can be combined):
- horse-drawn carriage’ tour around the park (75 PLN/person)
- European bison Show Reserve  (15 PLN/person)
- Nature and Forest Museum (15 PLN/person)

- English language guide (400 PLN/group, up to 3 hours)

After visit to Bialowieza (around midday on the 9th of December) the bus(es) will go first  to Warsaw Chopin airport and then to the Warsaw city center (if some participants wish to stay overnight in Warsaw). When planning your trip back home on the 9th, please remember that the duration of travel from Bialowieza to Warsaw is approximately 4,5 hours so please consider only the evening flights.

When travelling in Warsaw, these links may be useful:


Scientific committee:

Krzysztof Śmietanka (Chair)
Dolores Gavier-Widén
Silvia Bellini
Charalambos Billinis
Marie-Frédérique Le Potier
Maria Montoya
Krzysztof Niemczuk
Zygmunt Pejsak
Małgorzata Pomorska-Mól
Francisco Ruiz-Fons
Karl Ståhl
Chris Walzer
Lisa Yon

Organizing committee:

Krzysztof Śmietanka
Zygmunt Pejsak
Andrzej Kowalczyk
Grzegorz Woźniakowski
Anna Rakowska
Łukasz Bocian
Anna Ziętek-Barszcz
Agnieszka Stolarek
Anna Gierak
Barbara Majewska