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Asfarviridae virion.jpg
Asfarviridae virion
Virus classification e
(unranked): Virus
Phylum: incertae sedis
Class: incertae sedis
Order: incertae sedis
Family: Asfarviridae
Genus: Asfivirus

Asfarviridae is a family of double-stranded viruses.[1] Asfivirus is the only genus in the family. Asfiviruses infect insects and swine.


The viruses in the genus Asfivirus infect swine, resulting in an onset of African swine fever. The name of this family and genus are derived from the English language acronym: African swine fever and related viruses. Only a single species has been described to date for this genus. This virus is the only known arthropod-borne DNA viruses. It is enveloped and has a double-stranded DNA genome. African swine fever virus exhibits some similarities in genome structure and replication strategies to the poxviruses and phycodnaviruses, but has a different virion structure from poxviruses and several other properties that distinguish it from the latter.[2][3]


Group: dsDNA



The virons consist of an envelope, a capsid, a core, and a nucleoprotein complex. They are spherical and measure 175–215 nm in diameter. The capsid is icosahedral (T=189–217) with a diameter of 172–191 nm and appears hexagonal in outline. The capsomers measure 13 nm in diameter with 1892–2172 of these per capsid.[2] The genome is linear double-stranded DNA and between 170 and 190 kilobases in length. Its guanine + cytosine content is 39%.

Genus Structure Symmetry Capsid Genomic arrangement Genomic segmentation
Asfivirus Spherical Pleomorphic T=189–217 Enveloped Circular Monopartite

[4] The virus can be grown in cell culture, but cytopathic effects may be absent. Acidophilic, intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies may be visible in biopsies or post mortem material. Replication is cytoplasmic and the virons mature by budding from plasma membrane.

The viruses in this family infect domestic pigs and their relatives. The natural hosts are warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus), bush pigs (Potamochoerus porcus), and argasid ticks (Ornithodoros species). Young warthogs when infected develop a high viraemia and are infectious to ticks. Older warthogs are generally immune to infection. The virus can replicate within the ticks. Trans-stadial, transovarial, and sexual spread within the ticks occurs.

During infection, the virions multiply in erythrocytes, endothelial cells, and leukocytes and not in the epithelial cells. During infection, the virus can be isolated from blood, spleen, visceral lymph nodes, and tonsils.

Several species are known, none of which is able to infect humans.


Viral replication is cytoplasmic. Entry into the host cell is achieved by attachment of the viral proteins to host receptors, which mediates endocytosis. Replication follows the DNA strand displacement model. DNA templated transcription is the method of transcription. The virus exits the host cell by microtubular outwards viral transport.[2] Pigs, warthogs, and bushpigs serve as the natural host. The virus is transmitted via a vector (arthropods and ticks).


Genus Host details Tissue tropism Entry details Release details Replication site Assembly site Transmission
Asfivirus Pigs; warthogs; bushpigs Macrophages; Monocytes Cell receptor endocytosis Budding Cytoplasm Cytoplasm Ticks


This family was originally confined to Africa but has since spread to southern Europe, the Caribbean islands and China. [2][4]


  1. ^ Alonso, C; Borca, M; Dixon, L; Revilla, Y; Rodriguez, F; Escribano, JM; Ictv Report, Consortium (May 2018). "ICTV Virus Taxonomy Profile: Asfarviridae". The Journal of General Virology. 99 (5): 613–614. doi:10.1099/jgv.0.001049. PMID 29565243.
  2. ^ a b c d e "ICTV Online (10th) Report".
  3. ^ Index of Viruses—Asfarviridae (2006). In: ICTVdB—The Universal Virus Database, version 4. Büchen-Osmond, C (Ed), Columbia University, New York, USA.[page needed]
  4. ^ a b c "Viral Zone". ExPASy. Retrieved 12 June 2015.

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