Indigenous vaccine against lumpy skin disease to hit markets soon, says ICAR
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is confident about commercializing an indigenously developed lumpy-provacuated vaccine against the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) virus that infects cattle within “four-five months”.
“Agrinovate India, which is the commercialization arm for the products and technologies developed by our institutions, issued a document of interest last week. Three companies have already shown interest,” ICAR Deputy Director General (Animal Science) Bhupendra Nath Tripathi told The Indian Express.
Lumpi-ProVacInd – jointly developed by ICAR’s National Research Center on Equine (NRCE) in Hisar, Haryana, and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Izzatnagar, UP – similar to those used against tuberculosis, measles, mumps, and rubella.
“It is also domesticated, providing 100 percent protection against LSD in cattle. Currently, we are only administering goat pox and sheep pox virus vaccines. These are the heterozygous vaccines that provide only cross-protection against LSD for cattle. (up to 60-70 percent), depending on all the three viruses belonging to the same Capripoxavirus genus,” Tripathi explained.
While in the case of COVID-19, inactivated vaccines such as Covaxin were used, these are less effective, with efficacy of just 5-6 months against the caprypox virus. Hence, the choice of a live attenuated vaccine for LSD.
According to official figures, LSD has infected around 11.21 lakh cattle and caused 49,628 deaths across India till August 31. The virus — spread primarily by the bites of flies, mosquitoes, and ticks — can cause fever, loss of appetite, runny nose, watery eyes in 12 states, and over-saliva to severe skin rash and swollen nodules. a notification has been received. These include Rajasthan (31 districts), Gujarat (26), Punjab (24), Haryana (22), Uttar Pradesh (21), Jammu & Kashmir (18), Himachal Pradesh (9), Madhya Pradesh (5), Uttarakhand (4), Maharashtra (3), Goa (1), and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (1).
Giving details on the development of the vaccine, NRCE’s veterinary virologist and lead scientist Naveen Kumar said the institute had collected skin nodule samples from LSD-infected cows near Ranchi in December 2019. The virus was quickly isolated at the institute in Hisar. -January 2020. This was the period when cases of this disease were being reported from Odisha and eastern states. “These were not leading to any mortality. But being a completely new virus for India, we have decided to work on it.
The next step was to propagate the isolated virus into African Green Monkey Kidney (Vero) cells used in the cultures. Cultivation was carried out over 50 generations (“passages”) and took approximately 17 months. As the virus mutates after repeated passage, its ability to cause virulence or disease weakens. Loss of pathogenicity began around the 30th passage, although the mutated virus could induce the necessary immune response from its host.
“We sequenced the virus genome at the beginning and passage 10th, 30th, and 50th. The attenuated live virus was identified as a vaccine candidate after the 50th passage and tested on our laboratory rats and rabbits,” Kumar said.
The pilot trial of the vaccine candidate on a natural host (cattle) was conducted at IVRI in April this year. These included 10 male calves that were vaccinated and five “control” animals that were not. After one month, a virulent virus was injected into both sets of calves. Control calves showed most of the symptoms of LSD, whereas vaccinated animals developed complete immunity.
Since July, there have also been field trials starting with 140-odd cattle (lactating and pregnant cows as well as calves, heifers, and bullocks) at a gaushala in Banswara, Rajasthan. Animals have also been vaccinated in 35 other gaushalas and dairy farms in Udaipur, Alwar, and Jodhpur, besides Hisar and Hansi (Haryana) and Mathura (UP). “We have not seen the disease in any of these animals, while it has spread everywhere around them,” Kumar said.
However, commercially producing the Lumpi-ProVacInd vaccine is going to be a challenge. Major veterinary vaccine manufacturers include Indian Immunologicals Ltd., Hester Biosciences, Brilliant Bio Pharma, MSD Animal Health, and Biovate Pvt Ltd. The first two companies already supply goat pox and sheep pox vaccines against LSD in cattle. So far, about 65.17 lakh doses have been given across the country.
As per the 2019 Livestock Census, the total cattle population of India is 193.46 million. According to Tripathi, at least 80 percent of the population has to be covered to achieve herd immunity – ideally through a vaccine that not only provides partial protection.