A fast-dissolving vaccine tablet to facilitate the immunisation of backyard poultry from Newcastle Disease has been developed by international non-profit global health organisation PATH.

A fast-dissolving vaccine tablet to facilitate the immunisation of backyard poultry from Newcastle Disease (ND) has been developed by internationap global health organisation PATH.

2.5billion of the world's population rely on chickens and other poultry for their daily needs.The tablet – called the NDV-tablet – was commissioned by GALVmed (the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines) and funded through the organisation by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the DFID (Department for International Development).

In Africa alone, approximately 70% of an estimated 1.38 billion chickens are at risk of ND, while 2.5 billion of the world’s population rely on chickens and other poultry for daily needs. This makes the viral, highly contagious affliction, which is capable of destroying entire chicken populations in a short period of time, one of the biggest threats to rural poultry and livelihoods globally.

According to GALVMed, current ND live vaccines are packaged in glass vials that are easily damaged and have to be stored between 2°–8°C. Also, each vial also contains vaccines for 500 or more birds, making it hard to use and, if not stored at the correct temperature, wasteful.

In comparison, GALVMed claims the NDV-tablet is cheaper to produce and use and is easier to transport and store (the tablet comes in a blister pack that can be stored at room temperature for 24 hours).

Each tablet can be dissolved in 1ml in water in less than 10 seconds, and contains enough doses to protect 50 birds, better meeting the smaller flock needs of the rural poor.

Baptiste Dungu, GALVmed senior director for research and development, said the NDV-tablet may soon make ND vaccine cheaper and easier for poor farmers to transport, store, and use.

He added: “Such technology advancements complement GALVmed’s pilot efforts to expand vaccine access and training of villagers as poultry vaccinators, helping to protect animal health and human livelihoods against the devastating effects of disease.”

Image ©iStockphoto.com/MShep2
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