Lions To Get CDV Vaccines Soon, As Clinical Trials Begin

| Updated: March 19, 2022 9:49 am

Clinical trials for India’s first indigenously developed vaccine against Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), which infects big cats including lions, have begun on small animals.

The vaccine will be distributed this year by the Gujarat Biotechnology and Research Centre (GBRC) to prevent CDV in Asiatic Lions.

According to sources, leopards and tigers will be subjected to trials in the future.

For the commercialization of the vaccine, GBRC has partnered with Hester Biosciences, an animal healthcare company based in Ahmedabad. CDV, which causes encephalitis and pneumonia, was previously discovered in dogs. It has spread to wild cats over the years.

In 1994, CDV wiped out nearly one-third of the 3,000 lions in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. In 2018, the virus also killed 30 lions in Gujarat’s Gir National Park, the last refuge for the endangered species.

Gir faced another CDV outbreak in 2020. An environment ministry committee discovered that 85 lions died over a six-month period. It did not name CDV as the cause of the deaths, but it did recommend hastening the development of a vaccine against it.

The number of lions in Gujarat increased by 29 percent from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2019.

According to a state government official, GBRC has made a breakthrough in its research and is currently testing the vaccine on guinea pigs and mice. “According to preliminary findings, the vaccine’s efficacy is greater than 80%.”

The vaccine project is being supported by the state government, which has approved Rs 50 lakh for it. The GBRC was created by the government’s Department of Science and Technology to conduct biotechnology research in priority areas.

According to a GBRC official, they have requested permission from the Forest and Environment Ministry to begin trials on zoo lions. He also stated that they have approached the Drugs Controller General of India about the commercial rollout. “The trial will most likely be conducted on five to six lions.”

After Hester’s plant receives all necessary approvals, commercial production of the vaccine will begin.

Read Also: Gujarat: Lions Of Junagadh To Be A Part Of Coronavirus Vaccine Trial

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