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The file image shows a boy selling chicken in Quetta. – Reuters Photo

LAHORE, May 5: The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) has developed a vaccine for new castle disease in poultry birds that has killed millions of birds and cost the industry more than Rs7 billion in recent days.

According to Vice-Chancellor Prof Talat Naseer Pasha, the vaccine was successfully applied to birds in the university and its trial at the farm level was currently under way. These trials are now 22-days old, and results are encouraging so far.

The disease, which originated from Malaysia, regularly kills billions of birds around the world and Pakistan, where migratory birds brought it with them, has been no exception. “In the last few months, the industry has suffered a loss of over Rs7 billion, as the disease kept killing the entire flock of many farms,” says Maj Javed Bukhari of the Pakistan Poultry Association.

The disease is a global phenomenon and Pakistan has been regularly importing vaccine for it. However, there was some change in virus anatomy, which made traditional vaccine totally ineffective. This triggered panic in the industry as millions of birds fell victim to it. Things are still not fully under control, but situation has improved with new vaccine, he claimed.

According to Prof Pasha, the university and the industry, along with the government, were making efforts to control the situation. The Punjab government had already made committees for long- and medium-term solutions and legislation.