What is Foot & Mouth Disease?
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a severe, highly contagious viral problem of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat etc. The disease is characterized by lameness, smacking of mouth, discharge from mouth and nares, weight loss and reduction in milk production. It causes high morbidity in adult animals and sometimes mortality in young calves. The disease in Pakistan is caused by either of “A”, “O” and “Asia-1” serotype of FMD virus. It is causing loss of more than Rs 2.0 billion annually to livestock industry. The loss is measured in terms of calf mortality, reduction of milk production, abortion of pregnant animals, cost of treatment, loss of working efficiency & weight gain and severe consternation. The extreme effect of the disease is embargo on exports of dairy, meat and other animal origin products from the country having this devastating disease.
The disease is prevalent in many countries of the world. Some areas of the world are free from FMD such as North America, Australia and Europe while others like South America, Africa, Middle East and Asia are infected with the disease. These countries are a continuous threat to FMD free areas. In 2002 O-Pan Asia strain spread to UK, Japan, France, Taiwan, South Africa, Netherlands and Korea and the same was repeated in 2007 when O pan-asia2 spread from India to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. Pakistan is among the infected countries, in which Three out of seven (O, A and Asia-1) serotypes of Foot & Mouth Disease are circulating in the region.
HISTORY OF FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE RESEARCH CENTER
Foot and Mouth Disease Research Center was established in 2012 at Veterinary Research Institute, Peshawar through an ADP Project (2007-2012). The Project was regularized in 2014. The center was established with the idea to take basic measures to prevent and control FMD. In this regard a basic set of laboratories has been designed to start initial fight against the disease. These laboratories provide the basic infrastructure for FMD related work. One of the key stone had been positioned when Vaccine and Hyper Immune Sera had been successfully produced and there are protocols successfully implemented. Further, serological and molecular diagnostic techniques for FMD have been established for the first time in the province and research facilities are provided to the researchers and students to work further in the area.
Based on activities the FMD Research Center is divided into two major divisions:
Vaccine Production Division
The first floor is dedicated to FMD Vaccine production activity which includes Sterilization Section, Media & Cell Culture Section, Virus Infection and inactivation section, Vaccine formulation section, Vaccine Bottling and Storage Section, Quality Control Section and Biologics Repository section.
Disease Diagnostics Division
The ground floor is used for diagnostic purposes of FMD Field viruses. It consists of ELISA Section (Direct, NSP and Liquid Phase Blocking ELISA), Conventional Polymerase Chain Reaction Section, Reverse Transcription Real Time PCR Section, Gel Documentation System Section, Microbiology Section and Administrative Offices. Each and every section has its full time activity and is interconnected with each other in the loop. Interruption in a single section will hold the activity of the whole division.