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Amid the outbreak of Lumpy Skin Disease in cattle, two institutes of Agri research body ICAR have developed a vaccine to contain the infectious disease. The Central government is planning to commercialise the vaccine in order to control the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), which has led to the death of cattle in six states.

The LSD spreads among cattle and has killed 2,111 cows in Rajasthan as of August 8. While Gujarat has reported 1,679 deaths, Punjab 672, Himachal Pradesh 38, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 29, and Uttarakhand 26 deaths due to Lumy Skin Disease until August 8.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)- National Research Centre on Equines (NRCE), in collaboration with Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Izatnagar, Uttar Pradesh has developed a homologous live-attenuated LSD vaccine "Lumpi-ProVacInd".

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying Minister Parshottam Rupala revealed this new technology on Wednesday.

Animal Husbandry Minister Rupala complemented the ICAR scientists for the development of this indigenous vaccine, which he said would help in controlling the LSD.

"Scientists were making efforts to develop this vaccine since the LSD disease was first reported in Odisha in 2019. Today, the technology has been launched and now we will move forward to ensure how this vaccine reaches farmers who have cattle," he said.

Rupala said it is a very "encouraging" development as the spread of LSD has become a serious issue.

He said there is a protocol for the commercialisation of vaccines and the animal husbandry department will see how it can be expedited.

Until now, the states were using goat pox to control this disease, which is also effective. However, the minister claimed that the new vaccine will produce a better outcome.

B N Tripathi, Deputy Director General (Animal Science), ICAR, said the two institutes can produce 2.5 lakh dosages per month.

"The cost per dose is 1-2," he said, adding that the immunity induced by homologous live attenuated LSD vaccines usually persists for a minimum period of one year.

The LSD disease was reported for the first time in India in 2019 from Odisha.

In the initial years, it was mainly restricted to the eastern part of our country. Later on, it rapidly spread to almost all the states in the country.

Recently (between June and August 2022), the disease has turned extremely lethal with the mortality rate of the cattle has surged to 15%, especially in Rajasthan.

LSD is primarily a disease in cattle. Emerging evidence suggests that the LSD virus can also cause mild illness in buffalo, camels, deer, and horses.

The scientists at NRCE isolated the virus in 2019 itself and were in a process of developing a live-attenuated vaccine since then.

The safety of the vaccine has also been ascertained in the field in cattle and buffaloes of all age groups including lactating and pregnant ones.

Based on the outcome of experimental and field trials, it can be concluded that the vaccine is safe and induces protective immunity in animals against LSD, the ICAR said.

(With PTI inputs)

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