New Rift Valley vaccine out soon

Clone 13, the long-awaited new Rift Valley fever (RVF) vaccine, will be distributed throughout the country in the first week of October, according Willie Botha, Onderstepoort Biological Products’ special projects executive.

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“We’re very excited to be able to release Clone 13 after obtaining registration from the Registrar of Act 36,” said Botha. “Onderstepoort Biological Products has collaborated with the Pasteur Institute in France and has done hundreds of clones to get to this point.”

They’ve been working on a new vaccine for the past 10 years and evaluations of the efficacy and safety of Clone 13 have been extremely thorough. One test focused on three different experiments involving 38 ewes at different stages of pregnancy, their offspring and four rams.

In each experiment some were exposed to a virulent RVF virus after being vaccinated. The results showed the vaccine didn’t induce clinical manifestations of RVF, such as abortion in pregnant ewes, teratogeny (the development of physical defects in the embryo), or pyrexia (fever) in any of the vaccinated animals. The unvaccinated control ewes showed pyrexia, aborted or died of RVF.

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Bulk stocks of Clone 13 are currently being produced to meet the demands of South Africa and all the African and Middle Eastern countries where RVF outbreaks could occur, especially with the onset of summer rains and warmer weather.“Clone 13 is an annual live vaccine suitable for sheep, goats and cows.

It is safe for pregnant animals, irrespective of the stage of pregnancy,” said Botha, adding that farmers and stud breeders accustomed to using the inactivated vaccine might take a bit of time to change over.