OBP now operating at 90% capacity

Disruptions in vaccine production at Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) seem to be coming to an end with the summer vaccines for blue tongue (BT), African horse sickness (AHS), lumpy skin, B. Phemeral and Rift Valley fever (RVF) now available on the market.

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“Our production is at around 90%. It is not where we would like it to be. There have been some minor interruptions due to machine installations,” said Kenneth Malahlela, national sales manager at OBP.

OBP is currently constructing a new facility that will be able to accommodate research on diseases requiring strict biosecurity measures. OBP aims for the building to be in use by January 2016.

At the recent LIMRPO congress in Mokopane, Malahlela told attending farmers that long lead times for vaccine production could not me completely ruled out yet.

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Gerhard Schutte, CEO of the Red Meat Producers Organisation (RPO), told Farmer’s Weekly they were still concerned about the availability of vaccines from OBP.

He said that a June press release by OBP which stated that the facility had available, amongst others, 3 177 units of African horse sickness (AHS) vaccine, 800 units of BT, with another 20 000 units available in July, 17 000 units of RVF vaccine and 10 dose packs of B. phemeral, represented nothing but a drop in the bucket for the millions of animals in the national sheep, goat and cattle herds.