11th May. 2006: RAWALPINDI - The first batch of 70,000 doses of bird flu vaccine produced by the Vetenerary Research Institute (VRI) in Lahore is now ready for distribution in the province.
Dr Zafar Jamil Gill, Director General (research) Punjab livestock department said that the institute had developed capability to produce 70,000 doses of the vaccine on the basis of local strain on a daily basis.
Under the federal government grant of Rs11 million, specific laboratory facilities were created at the VRI to produce the vaccine.
Dr Gill, who supervised the production of the vaccine, said a meeting of the livestock department would be held in Lahore on Wednesday to discuss the modalities for the distribution of the vaccine throughout the province.
The meeting is expected to take a decision on the supply of vaccine on a priority basis to poultry farmers located in the vicinity of Rawalpindi and Islamabad which were severely hit by the recent outbreak of deadly bird flu virus, according to Dr Gill.
The single dose of vaccine will cost Re0.25 to poultry farmers against Rs5 per dose of imported one.
Raza Mehmood Khursand, Chairman of Pakistan Poultry Association welcomed the production of bird flu vaccine by VRI, and said the poultry farms would now get some protection from the disease. He said the distribution of vaccine would be through the government as well as by the poultry association.
The poultry farms within the radius of ten kilometres of Rawalpindi and Islamabad should get foremost priority in the provision of the vaccine, he said
Mr Khursand said the loss to the poultry industry following the outbreak of bird flu had crossed the Rs10 billion mark.
The federal poultry board met in Islamabad on Tuesday to take stock of the situation following the recent outbreak of bird flu in poultry farms around the federal capital and some parts of NWFP.
After the meting, Dr Mohammad Aslam, a member of the Pakistan Poultry Association said that the government had agreed to reduce duties on the import of raw material used to produce poultry feed as well as import of fabricated poultry farm houses. He said the application of new technology would help control poultry diseases.