ICAR lab develops cheaper vaccine for swine flu

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 03, 2020 Published on February 03, 2020

Researchers at the Izatnagar-based Indian Veterinary Research Institute (ICAR-IVRI) — a constituent institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research — have developed a more efficient and cost-effective vaccine against classical swine fever, a disease associated with heavy mortality and morbidity in pigs.

Affordable option

The live attenuated vaccine developed by the ICAR-IVRI team led by its director Raj Kumar Singh costs just ₹2 per dose as against ₹15-25 per dose of the existing swine fever vaccine, most of which is imported currently.

“More importantly, the animals would need only one shot of the new vaccine in their lifetime whereas the earlier vaccine, which was in use in India since 1964, needed to be administered every six months. This would make it more affordable for farmers,” told Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, a press conference here.

The vaccine, expected to be available for use within the next 12 months, would improve pork production and India may even be able to export to other countries, he said. According to Trilochan Mohapatra, ICAR’s Director-General, the country currently requires 22 million doses of swine fever vaccine, but only 1.2 million are produced a year domestically.

Once the ICAR-IVRI vaccine is ready, India would be able to save the money spent on imported the vaccine.

Tech transfer

“We have found that the vaccine remains effective for more than two years. In other words, pigs would require just dose in their lifetime. We have tested it on 500 pigs at multiple locations,” said ICAR-IVRI Director Singh.

He said the technology has been handed over to Agri Innovate, a company formed by ICAR to market technologies developed by labs under it. About 4-5 Indian firms have shown interest in procuring this technology. Agri Innovate would be able to finalise the names and hand over the vaccine technology in next six months, said Mohapatra.

According to him, Nepal government has also expressed its keenness to get the vaccine technology, the ICAR chief said adding that many more countries may come forward helping India to earn foreign exchange.

Published on February 03, 2020
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