The Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) has been selected as the Project Manager for the AgResults Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Challenge Project.
This FMD initiative has been designed to encourage the development and uptake of an improved vaccine tailored for the needs of East Africa.
Speaking to journalists, GALVmed’s CEO, Dr. Carolin Schumacher said that managing this multimillion-dollar project is an exciting opportunity for GALVmed to contribute to the global fight against FMD. One of the most contagious and devastating livestock diseases in the world, FMD affects farmers both large and small, the global livestock industry, and agricultural economies.
“Africa is notoriously underserved with FMD vaccines and the East African context is of particular concern. An improved vaccine offering will play a vital role in controlling the endemic disease and could help reduce poverty in East Africa,” says Dr. Schumacher.
Foot and Mouth Disease
FMD is a viral livestock disease that not only causes mortality but also severely limits livestock productivity and disrupts regional and international trade of animals and animal products, leading to huge economic losses. Africa loses about US$2.3bn annually due to FMD, with most of the economic burden falling on sub-Saharan Africa. In East Africa, outbreaks of FMD typically strike as waves of infection one to two years apart. These outbreaks are exacerbated when multiple serotypes or strains circulate concurrently.
Despite the clear impacts of FMD in East Africa, efforts to curb the disease have been rare and often limited in scope. Vaccination is proven to effectively control FMD, but current vaccines do not offer cross-protection against the various strains circulating across East Africa. Additionally, these vaccines are often expensive and of variable quality.
To tackle these scientific and economic obstacles, the FMD Challenge Project will encourage pharmaceutical companies around the world to develop, register, and commercialise effective vaccines for the control of FMD in East Africa. These companies will participate as “competitors” to create vaccines that meet criteria established for the region. Once the vaccines are approved and registered, competitors will become eligible to commence sales. The project will contribute to the cost-per-dose paid to the competing manufacturers, thereby encouraging government and private sector actors to better combat FMD by consistently purchasing high volumes of vaccines at affordable prices. To build a stable market around FMD control, the project will promote the development of a private sector model for buying and distributing vaccines, while enhancing existing public sector control efforts. As the market develops, the project plans to expand access to effective vaccines among smallholder farmers, yielding improvements in livestock health and increases in net income.
The project is part of the $145 million AgResults initiative financed by the governments of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since 2013, AgResults’ Pay-for-Results competitions have incentivised the private sector to expand into new sectors and realise the economic potential of underserved markets to improve the well-being of smallholder farmers.