(IRNA) - In a significant research breakthrough, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has successfully developed an indigenous vaccine against bird flu.
News of the discovery was announced by Union Minister of Agriculture Shri Sharad Pawar as he addressed the 77th annual general meeting of the ICAR Society, a PIB release said here Sunday, reports Trend.
The country had witnessed an outbreak of bird flu, known as the avian influenza, in February this year on the country's poultry industry.
Dr Mangala Rai, director-general of ICAR, called it a big step forward in tackling the disease.
"Viral disease such as avian influenza does not recognize boundaries and the development of indigenous vaccine would go a long way in tackling bird flu effectively. Since the disease has got recurring possibility, further research would focus on developing another type of vaccine," Dr Rai said.
ICAR, the country's premier agricultural research organization, developed the vaccine against avian influenza indigenously and had provided Rs. 8 crore for a vaccine development program immediately after the outbreak of bird flu.
The High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal, which is under the ICAR, produced the vaccine in a record four months.
The laboratory is the country's only facility for conducting tests to determine existence of the deadly H5N1 variant of bird flu.
Up until now, the country has been importing the vaccine to tackle the disease, which has resulted in culling of thousands of poultry and of more than 10 lakh birds.
The agriculture minister, who is also the president of the ICAR Society, told members that the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) that is being launched this month with World Bank assistance envisages investment of over Rs 1150 crore to help increase farmers' income and ensure livelihood security.