Charlotte Black for GALVmed, Fleishman-Hillard, +44 (0)20 7395 7124, +44 (0)78 1466 6627 (mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Wales, PATH, +1.206.302.4689, email@example.com.
Edinburgh and Seattle, June 7, 2012—A key innovation in vaccine formulation and delivery is set to enable much of the world’s poor to protect their village chickens against Newcastle disease (ND), one of the biggest threats to rural poultry and livelihoods globally.
Commissioned by the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) and funded through GALVmed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Government Department for International Development (DFID), PATH has developed a fast-dissolving ND vaccine tablet (NDV-tablet) to facilitate the immunization of ”backyard poultry” in low-resource rural settings. Additional technical collaborators include the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory of the United States Department of Agriculture and the University of Washington.
Many of the world’s 2.5 billion people who live on US$2 a day rely on chickens and other poultry for daily needs and for cash in crisis. These backyard birds (usually free range and scavengers) are especially important for the subsistence of women and children. The main health-limiting factor for village poultry in low-resource settings is ND—which is viral, highly contagious, and capable of destroying entire chicken populations in a short period of time.
“GALVmed is proud to support the development of the NDV-tablet, which may soon make ND vaccine cheaper and easier for poor farmers to transport, store, and use, “ said Baptise Dungu, GALVmed Senior Director for Research and Development. “Such technology advancements complement GALVmed’s pilot efforts to expand vaccine access and training of villagers as poultry vaccinators, helping to protect animal health and human livelihoods against the devastating effects of disease,” he continued.
Conventional ND live vaccine is packaged in bulky glass vials that can be easily damaged. Each vial typically contains 500 or more doses of vaccine and needs to be stored between 2°–8°C. By comparison, the NDV-tablets—which dissolve in 1 ml of water in less than 10 seconds—are packaged in foil blister packs and can be stored for at least 24 hours at room temperature, making the vaccine dramatically more convenient to transport, store, and use in remote rural settings. Each NDV-tablet contains enough vaccine doses to protect 50 birds, better meeting the smaller flock needs of the rural poor.
PATH and partners continue to explore the feasibility of producing NDV-tablets using equipment and materials that developing-country vaccine manufacturers already have or can easily and inexpensively access. Next steps will include transferring the technology.
1 Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2009: Data based on 2007 figures.
2 Sonaiya EB, Branckaert RDS, Gueye EF. Research and development options for family poultry. In: Gueye, E.F. Ed. First INFPD/FAO Electronic Conference on Family Poultry. Rome: FAO;1999.
3 Alders R. Newcastle disease overview in Africa. GALVmed Workshop on Newcastle Disease and ND Vaccines, Maputo. October 2009.
4 Market Assessment on ND Vaccine Supply Chains in SADC Countries and the Potential Size of Demand for the Vaccines by Family Rural Poultry Farmers. Report commissioned by GALVmed. Produced by IRI (pty) Ltd. February 2011.
5 Sagari R, Ramdas S A. Unpacking the ”poor productivity” myth: women resurrecting poultry-based livelihoods in India. SAGP25. Delhi: South Asia Pro-poor Livestock Policy Programme; 2009. (www.sapplpp.org).
GALVmed, the Global Alliance of Livestock Veterinary Medicines, aims to protect livestock and save human lives and livelihoods by making livestock vaccines, diagnostics, and medicines accessible and affordable to the millions in developing countries for whom livestock is a lifeline. It is a UK-based charity with regional offices in Africa and India and is principally funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Government Department for International Development. For more information, please visit www.galvmed.org.