Saturday, April 13, 2024

BVI commissions its multi million Pula FMD lab

The Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) will officially open its state of the art Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Vaccine production expansion laboratory next week Thursday, it said this week.

?The new facility, which was built at a cost of over P200 million, will see BVI more than double antigen production from the current 12-13 million mono doses annually and give the company the chance to enter the bigger African market.

“We have been handicapped by capacity. Botswana was a priority; the target is to go to the rest of Africa,” George Matlho, BVI Chief Executive Officer, said.

Currently, the new laboratory for the company owned 100 percent by the government of Botswana, will open up prospects for sales beyond the southern Africa region while also offering trade opportunities as meat from vaccinated animals can now be sold to lucrative markets.

With this new facility antigen can be super concentrated and stored for up to 5 years. This new variable helps shorten response time in case of emergencies.

The new lab will also reduce mass slaughter of cattle as the new technology affords differentiation of the infected from vaccinated animals.
?BVI was established in the late 1970s as a project under the Ministry of Agriculture to respond to the need for a vaccine to control the FMD virus in Ngamiland, which was proving unresponsive to the UK made vaccine used then. In 1979, BVI was registered as a Botswana government wholly owned commercial company.

The institute produces a range of effective vaccines for the control of transboundary animal diseases.

BVI’s products include the FMD Vaccine, Peste Des Petits Ruminants Vaccine (PPR-Vac), BlackLeg (Asymptol) Vaccine, Anthrax Vaccine (CaboVax C) and Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) Vaccine.

Although it’s flagship product, the FMD vaccine, is largely consumed in Botswana, it continues to enjoy confidence in the SADC region with significant sales made in Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola.

The P200 million used to build the laboratory was raised from suites of financial solutions including P70 million and P50 million from bond programme. The other portion was raised through Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) preferential shares, which are redeemable.

About 70 percent of the FMD vaccine produced here is exported.
Fitting for a world class Centre of Excellence in vaccine production, BVI has been a reference lab for FMD diagnosis for Sub-Saharan Africa since 1985.

BVI made a turnover of P67 million in 2009 and it is targeting to increase that to P78 million this year.


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