Animal healthcare player Hester Biosciences Ltd will develop and commercialise the low pathogenic avian influenza inactivated vaccine for poultry. The company has signed an agreement to acquire the indigenously-developed technology from Indian Council of Agricultural Research - National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (ICAR-NIHSAD), for the development and commercialisation of the Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H9N2 strain) Inactivated Vaccine for poultry. A government entity, Agrinnovate, acted as an interface between ICAR and the stakeholders in the agriculture sector, for technology transfers for vaccine manufacturing in the veterinary sector. As per Agrinovate, the indigenously-developed vaccine has passed the sterility, safety, and efficacy testing in experimental trials under laboratory conditions. Also, it said that the vaccine provides protective immunity in chickens for approximately 6 months. Hester has plans to launch this Vaccine by the end of 2023 after completing the required field studies and obtaining regulatory approvals. The agreement was signed December 27 2022 at the office of Agrinnovate India, New Delhi in presence of Himanshu Pathak, Director General (DG), ICAR, Praveen Malik, CEO, Agrinnovate India, Aniket Sanyal, Director, NIHSAD and Rajiv Gandhi, CEO & MD, Hester along with other senior officials. This development achieves the country’s objective towards making India Aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) in H9N2 vaccine for poultry. This indigenously-developed inactivated H9N2 vaccine for poultry is developed using a local isolate, thereby ensuring that the vaccine is made from the local strain and not by importing any exotic strain, a statement from Hester said. Besides supplying the vaccine within India, Hester intends to export this vaccine to African and Asian countries through its own distribution network, where the demand for this vaccine has already been established. The huge poultry population in India is a key source of livelihood for rural India. Until date, India had no vaccine available for Avian Influenza despite of periodic outbreaks across the country. These factors make this vaccine as having a significant commercial potential, the statement added. Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza H9N2 Strain causes comorbidity in poultry flocks throughout the year, leading to huge economic losses to the poultry farmers. The disease generally has low mortality rate up to 6% but can increase significantly in the presence of other infections. It could also lead to an irreversible egg production drop (up to 50%) in layer birds and a performance loss in broilers.