With the lumpy skin disease (LSD) rattling several States, infecting and killing thousands of cattle, Telangana is bracing up to send the vaccines against the disease to States that are sending SoS requests.
VBRI, a State government agency, is the only public sector laboratory in the country that produces the goat pox vaccine, which has been prescribed by the Union Government for LSD.
Though it has a capacity to produce two crore doses annually, the institute has been producing less than one crore to meet the demand.
“We have supplied one lakh doses to Jharkhand. We have also supplied the vaccine to States such as Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh,” S Ramchander, Director of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department, told BusinessLine.
The Department has also received requests from Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat.
Keeping in view the gravity of the situation, the Centre is likely to come out with a tender to procure the vaccine for distribution in the vulnerable States.
Telangana has kept about seven lakh doses for itself, considering reports of infections in 12 districts of the State.
“We are going to receive another 33 lakh doses by the month-end. We will consider requests from other States over the next few weeks,” he said. Under the AP Bifurcation law, Telangana is obliged to meet the demand from Andhra Pradesh (for a period of 10 years from 2014).
Ever since the LSD outbreak happened two years ago and the Centre prescribing the goat pox vaccine to tackle the disease, the State has included it in the vaccine schedule. “This, perhaps, is one reason why it is not virulent in the State,” he said.
The State sent about 130 samples of suspected infections to Southern Region Disease Diagnostics Laboratory, the designated Central laboratory in Bengaluru. “We are awaiting the results. We expect it to be out in the next 3-4 days,” he said.
The Department will supply the vaccine at just ₹1.50 a dose. “We are going to supply at a low cost,” the Director said.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that it is priced five times more in the retail market.