By Ndafadza Madanha
THE Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) says it may have a cure for the Newcastle disease which has a devastating impact on the poultry sector.
Addressing the 19th graduation ceremony of BUSE Vice Chancellor Professor Eddie Mwenje, said clinical trials had shown initial success and is on-going.
“We are excited to announce that we have a potential New Castle virus drug. As you already know, the virus causes New Castle disease which is responsible for devastating loses in the poultry industry and to which to date there is no cure except the use of vaccines. The initial trials have indicated very encouraging results. We are continuing with clinical trials for this season. This research is very important in understanding the treatment of other viral related diseases”.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation in recent years Newcastle virus has been identified as one of the major constraints to rural poultry production in Zimbabwe.
Chicken can be protected from Newcastle disease by vaccination, but most of the vaccine delivery methods require handling of the birds. In many rural poultry systems handling chicken is very difficult or not possible to achieve.
Newcastle disease is a viral disease of birds with a wide range of clinical signs from mild to severe.
This disease is caused by a diverse group of viruses. The milder strains are endemic in the United States, while highly virulent strains are found in Africa and Asian countries.
The highly virulent form of Newcastle disease is one of the most important poultry diseases worldwide. Chickens are particularly susceptible, and may experience morbidity and mortality rates of up to 100 percent.
Outbreaks of virulent Newcastle disease have a tremendous impact on backyard chicken industries especially in developing countries, where these birds are a significant source of protein and this disease is endemic.
It is the most important poultry disease in Southern Africa.