USDA scientist honored for disease control work

Published on December 31, 2018
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The National Association of Federal Veterinarians honored a research microbiologist for his work to guard animals against foreign disease.

Dr. Borca
Dr. Manuel Borca

Dr. Manuel Borca works for the Agricultural Research Service of the Department of Agriculture as the lead scientist at the Foreign Animal Disease Unit at Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York. He received the Dr. Daniel E. Salmon Award, an annual honor for outstanding contributions and service by federal veterinarians.

Dr. Salmon was the first person to earn a veterinary degree in the U.S. and first director of the USDA Bureau of Animal Industry. The genus Salmonella is named in his honor.

An ARS announcement describes Dr. Borca as an international leader in veterinary virology and expert in infectious animal disease. His research on African swine fever and classical swine fever in particular has influenced animal health researchers and helped others develop disease controls.

Both diseases are contagious, deadly to swine, and threats to swine industries, especially in the U.S. and other countries free of the diseases, ARS information states.

The world needs better CSF vaccines and lacks ASF vaccines, the ARS announcement states. Dr. Borca's team has developed vaccine-candidate virus strains for each, creating the African swine fever strains through technology he and other scientists developed to modify genetics of the viruses.

ARS information shows Dr. Borca's current projects include efforts to control and eradicate foreign diseases of swine, support global control and eradication of the foot-and-mouth disease virus, and develop vaccines against swine diseases.