SERDANG, 18 Nov (UPM) – Universiti Putra Malaysia has launched a new vaccine against lung or pneumonic diseases in goats and sheep that was developed and patented by its scientists. The soft launch of “STVac7”, the first intranasal spray vaccine for goats and sheep, was officiated by the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah, in a brief ceremony here on 24 Oct., 2013. The vaccine was developed and tested from 1998 to 2005 by UPM scientists led by Prof Dr Mohd Zamri Saad of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The other scientist involved is Dr Md. Sabri Mohd Yusoff. The patent for the STVac7 vaccine has been commercialised to Fed Tech Sdn Bhd, a bumiputera company, for RM4 million and the company has appointed Bio-Angle Vacs Sdn Bhd to manage the production and marketing of the vaccine, said the Vice Chancellor of UPM, Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Fauzi Hj Ramlan, when speaking at the ceremony. He said he is confident that the vaccine could penetrate the local and foreign market, since in Malaysia alone, there were more than 600,000 goats and sheep at present and the figure is expected to increase to 1 million by 2015, a growth rate of 12.1% as projected by the Veterinary Services Department.
The company’s collaboration with UPM would ensure that it would produce the STVac7 vaccines under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) since it would be using the facilities at FTU.GMP@Biotech (or FTU), a service centre under the Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science of UPM. Dr Fauzi said FTU which was established in 1999 is now equipped with the facilities for upstream and downstream production of biotechnological products, including packaging and bottling. The FTU services centre which cost RM14 million to develop, is now serving a horde of local companies like Malaysia Agriculture HighTech, Stella Gen, Johor BioMicrobe, Pascal Biotech, MVP, One Biotech for the development and production of their biotechnology products. He said Bio-Angle Vacs Sdn Bhd and FTU were currently developing the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the mass production of the STVAC 7 vaccine using the GMP facilities of the service centre as well as product registration before marketing.
“Actual production for the commercialisation of the product with the GMP certification will begin in July 2014 using the Original Equipment Concept,” Dr Fauzi said. Meanwhile, replying to questions, Prof Dr Zamri said the STVac7 is a vaccine against mannheimiosis or respiratory diseases of goats and sheep caused by bacteria. It was developed and produced using sophisticated recombinant technology which, unlike the imported vaccines, has been proven to provide protection against bacterium infection in the small ruminants like goats and sheep. “The current available vaccines against this disease are imported vaccines prepared using foreign strains. They are given via intramuscular injections. The vaccines were found to be ineffective and expensive. “Therefore, STVac7 was developed using local isolated bacterium that was found to be able to provide protection against infections by Mannheimia haemolytica bacterium A2, A7 and A9. This was proven to be better protection,” said Prof Zamri who graduated with his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from UPM before obtaining his PhD from Liverpool.
“The product is cheap and effective. If used according to the suggested protocol, it can reduce mortality due to this disease by more than 90%,” he added. Prof Zamri said the pneumonic diseases brought about by the bacterium usually caused a mortality rate of 30% during the rainy season and the goats and sheep farmers could benefit from the STVac7. “The product itself is ready for the market since laboratory and field tests have been completed,” he said, adding that they started their research in 1998 which ended in 2005. All the research grants were provided by MOSTI. He also said that the product and technology could be modified to produce vaccines against other diseases of animals and humans.
“In fact, the technology can be further modified to produce test kits for various diseases,” he said. -- UPM