STAFF REPORT FSD: Scientists at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad have developed a vaccine that will save poultry birds from Newcastle disease (Ranikhet).

It is the first of its kind vaccine produced through cell culture that can bear temperatures of up to 26 degrees Celsius compared to imported vaccines that cannot tolerate temperatures above 8 degrees Celsius.

The new vaccine is comparatively cheaper than the imported ones and will help save billions of rupees annually in the import of vaccine and provision of cold storage facilities.

The mortality rate of birds has shot up to 20 per cent and above and in some cases farmers have lost their entire stock of birds.

“The vaccine developed by the UAF scientists is more effective in protecting the chicks from the disease,” said Dr Sajjad Randhawa, a leading poultry farmer.

He pointed out that poultry is becoming the second largest and fastest-growing industry in Pakistan but unfortunately it has faced serious challenges like the Newcastle disease in recent years.

He suggested that the government should offer incentives to shield the industry from crippling losses.

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