China to Provide $46.5 Million for Livestock Vaccine Research Facility in KP

China will provide $46.5 million in aid to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for the construction of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine production and research facility in the province.

A Concept Clearance proposal of the project for enhancement of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccines research & production facility in Peshawar, under Chinese Government Aids Fund, was cleared by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) last week.

According to the official documents available with ProPakistani, the project objective is to conduct feasibility studies at first and to initiate proceedings to locally manufacture suspension cell culture technology-based Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine to meet the demand of the vaccine having a significant impact on the livestock industry and farming community.

The documents reveal that currently, Pakistan is at stage II of the FMD Participatory Control Program according to the OIE. To shift from stage II to stage III, the country needs the availability of locally made potent cheap FMD vaccines. The existing FMD vaccine production capacity of L&DD (Research) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is less than 1.00 million doses through conventional technology, while the demand in the province is more than 31.6 million doses.

The project intends to establish state-of-the-art FMD vaccine production & research facility in Peshawar, the documents reveal.

Foot & Mouth Disease is an endemic of cloven-footed animals. Its endemic status is global, and the disease spreads widely by different means. This disease destroys farmers’ livelihoods and reduces the productivity of the animals. It reduces the general economy and reduces foreign exchange earnings in multiple ways, i.e., import of FMD vaccines, import of costly antibiotics and drugs for the treatment of Foot and Mouth Disease, hindrance in global livestock economy participation by Pakistani livestock products.

Complete eradication is not possible, and the only solution is to control the disease by vaccination. However, Pakistan currently does not have access to enough effective vaccines of the right quality to effectively control the disease.

Livestock & Dairy Development (Research) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the past made commendable efforts by establishing FMD Vaccine Research Centre to tackle the disease, where trivalent FMD vaccine is locally produced in small quantity through primary cell culture using BHK-21 cell line, the Concept Clearance proposal said.

However, the supply of vaccines to be able to control the disease throughout the province and country at a meaningful level is limited. The imported vaccine is expensive and beyond the reach of poor farmers.

The production process at FMDVRC at VRI Peshawar is not of a commercial scale and there are concerns about bio-safety. The circulating field strains need proper evaluation through research trials for their suitability as candidate vaccines for further processing on advanced level approaches.

The solution, therefore, is to transfer the necessary technology and know-how from abroad. Overall, the aim of this project is to first conduct feasibility studies and, in order to initiate proceedings to locally manufacture suspension cell culture technology-based FMD vaccine to meet the demand or the vaccine having a significant impact on the livestock industry and the farming community.

Pakistan has more than 200 million domestic animals, and they all are equally at risk of FMD. To control FMD, fifty percent of the total population of livestock in the country will need 200 million doses of Vaccines (two shots per six months) to be administered.

Pakistan is at stage-II of the FMD Participatory Control Program, a protocol of Office International Epizootic (OIE) for global Livestock Trade, where Pakistan Livestock products are banned in the global market due to PCP Stage II hindrance. While India and other countries are at Stage III and they enjoy global livestock economy share.