A veterinarian checking pigs in a pigsty. Photo: iStock/dusanpetkovic

Amid the spread of deadly African swine fever (ASF) across China, a Guangdong pharmaceutical company – which claimed to have created a vaccine that could “prevent and cure” the disease – failed to prove its claims to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange before a July 5 deadline.

Highsun Group had previously announced that it had signed a research agreement with another company which had already patented rights to a polysaccharide injection that was able to effectively “prevent and cure” the disease which is  deadly to most pigs and currently does not have a vaccine or cure, the Paper reported.

After the announcement the share price of the listed company surged for three days, causing the exchange on June 13 to send a letter of concern to Highsun requesting that it disclose the patent information and provide evidence of the efficiency of the vaccine.

The company argued that it conducting numerous tests before drawing the conclusion, which would be available after the official review.

The disclosure was to be made available between June 29 and July 5, 2019. However, the information became ‘undeliverable’ as the company was refused clinical trials of the drug on June 28 by the Hainan agricultural department.

On June 13, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued a statement that it had not approved any preventative medicines or vaccinations for African swine fever.

The ministry found that Highsun’s alleged polysaccharide injection had “no scientific basis”, the company had not applied for veterinary drug registration, and the enterprises concerned had not obtained a license to produce it.

Highsun’s research team had also failed to file applications with the Hainan agricultural department for clinical trials of the drug in accordance with regulations, the ministry noted.

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