SEOUL, Aug. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s animal quarantine agency said Sunday that is has acquired know-how to make its own bird flu vaccines.
The Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (APQA) said that it has developed candidate vaccine materials for its “antigen bank” that targets the H5N6 and H5N1 strains of avian influenza (AI). It said actual tests have already be carried out on chickens and that the results showed the materials met standards set by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health.
The creation of candidate vaccine material can allow the country to set up the antigen bank that is critical for making vaccines.
South Korea has been hit hard by AI outbreaks in recent years which have led to the culling of large number of birds resulting in monetary losses for the country as a whole.
The APQA claimed once enough vaccine viruses are stored in freezers for later use, the country can start making bird flu vaccines in about 12 days.
Up till now South Korea resorted to culling all birds infected with AI, and did not use vaccines. Birds that were vulnerable to the flu were also culled as a precautionary measure.
“At present the country does not have a vaccine policy for bird flu, but having the knowhow to deal with future outbreaks can give the government more leeway to respond down the line,” a government quarantine official said.