India develops vaccine to fight blue tongue disease

goatsSeveral outbreaks of blue tongue have been reported across the sheep belt in India during 2014 particularly in southern and western states. (Image source: Alan Grinberg/flickr)Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL) has launched Raksha Blu, India’s first vaccine for blue tongue disease that is prevalent among flocks of goats and sheep across the country

K V Balasubramaniam, managing director of IIL, said, “Blue tongue is a viral disease and there are about 24 viral strains prevalent in the world. However, among the Indian livestock only five strains are relevant. Onset of this disease results in more than 30 per cent mortality and high level of morbidity. There is no preventive mechanism till date and the routine drugs that are used for treatment do not help the animals recover completely.”

The vaccine is available at just US$0.08 per dose, added Balasubramaniam.

According to IIL, there are about 200mn sheep and goat population in India and more than 30 per cent of them are prone to endemic blue tongue disease across the country.

K Anand Kumar, deputy managing director of IIL, added that the credit for Raksha Blu vaccine goes to India’s Tamilnadu University of Veterinary and Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) whose collaborative work resulted in the development of the veterinary vaccine for blue tongue disease.

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