Classical swine fever (CSF) is among the most relevant viral epizootic diseases of swine. Due to its severe economic impact, CSF is notifiable to the world organization for animal health. Strict control policies, including systematic stamping out of infected herds with and without vaccination, have permitted regional virus eradication. Nevertheless, CSF virus (CSFV) persists in certain areas of the world and has re-emerged regularly. This review summarizes the basic established knowledge in the field and provides a comprehensive and updated overview of the recent advances in fundamental CSFV research, diagnostics and vaccine development. It covers the latest discoveries on the genetic diversity of pestiviruses, with implications for taxonomy, the progress in understanding disease pathogenesis, immunity against acute and persistent infections, and the recent findings in virus-host interactions and virulence determinants. We also review the progress and pitfalls in the improvement of diagnostic tools and the challenges in the development of modern and efficacious marker vaccines compatible with serological tests for disease surveillance. Finally, we highlight the gaps that require research efforts in the future.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.