Foot and Mouth Disease, vaccine

FMD vaccine production in SA still lagging due to funding problems

South Africa is still struggling to get their foot and mouth vaccine production system up to date, and is still struggling to get funding from government.

Landbouweekblad reported that new technology has been developed and there are trained individuals to manufacture the foot and mouth disease (FMD) vaccine in South Africa.  However, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) failed to acquire R400 million in funding from the government to help manufacture the vaccine.

Since the outbreak in 2011, which continued until 2014, an estimated R4 billion in losses have been calculated after the country lost its export status for meat products to the European Union.

The ARC had to halt the production of its FMD vaccine in 2005 due to insufficient infrastructure and technical problems.

Manufacture of vaccine in Botswana

The Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) in Botswana is currently the only facility that can produce substantial amounts of the FMD vaccines, namely Aftovax and Aftovaxpur, for distribution to other SADC countries.

According to dr. Shadrack Moephuli, chief executive officer from the ARC, there are ongoing discussions between the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the National Treasury to get the necessary funding for the project.

Initially, the entire project was estimated at R170 million. There is a conditional allowance of R132 million for the construction of the facility, which is not enough.

According to Moephuli, eight trained youngsters can produce all 50 000 doses form three different strains of the vaccine. The current doses being produced are very effective, but can’t be used before it has been registered.

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