Animal Diseases / Animal Health / Cattle / East Africa / ECF / ILRI / Kenya / Livestock / Vaccines

Cattle disease vaccine launched 30 years after invention

Without a vaccine, East Coast Fever kills a cow in Africa every 30 seconds Flickr - ILRI

An effective vaccine that languished, underused, for 30 years after its invention has finally been released commercially as a result of a new scheme for getting innovation into practice.

The vaccine protects cattle against the deadly East Coast Fever (ECF), which kills two cows every minute — one million a year — causing economic losses of US$189 million in the 11 countries in eastern and southern Africa where the disease is endemic.

The disease is caused by the parasite Theileria parve, transmitted by brown ear ticks. The East African Veterinary Research Organization, in Muguba, Kenya, developed the vaccine in collaboration with other international organisations 30 years ago. But the first, one-off, batch of 600,000 doses was made only in 1996, by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in Nairobi, Kenya, with support of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

By 2007 the supply was down to 230,000 doses and there were fears that the vaccine would go out of existence.

Read more (Science and Development Network)

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