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Botswana Vaccine Institute LTD was established in 1979 as an autonomous and totally self-financing company wholly owned by the Government of Botswana (GoB). Since its establishment, BVI has forged a strong technical cooperation with Merial (the animal health division of Sanofi), a leader in the research, manufacture and supply of livestock vaccines. BVI was initially established to produce FMD vaccines to provide biological safeguards to ensure Botswana's livestock industry freedom against FMD and to maintain exports of animals and animal products worldwide which was the key export earner before discovery of minerals. However, over the years BVI has extended its mandate to produce other livestock vaccines including Foot and Mouth Disease vaccines-FMD, Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia Vaccine -CBPP, Peste des Petits Ruminants Vaccine-PPR, Anthrax vaccine and Quarter Evil/Blackquater vaccine.
These vaccines are now supplied not only for Botswana, but for most countries of sub-Saharan Africa with over 15 African countries annually supplied with more than 20 million doses of BVI vaccines over the last 3 years (2012-2014). Due to growing demand for FMD vaccines in the late 2000’s BVI conceived and built through raising capital from the local money market, a new BWP200 million state of the art FMD production plant officially opened in December 2010. Through this new lab today BVI is the only African lab able to provide purified FMD vaccines as well as offer emergency antigen banks. These new developments have the potential to unlock Africa’s hugely underutilized livestock resource through trade. BVI played a key role and was instrumental in the control and eventual eradication of Rinderpest globally, the first and only livestock disease to be eradicated. BVI produces its vaccines to International Standards (World Organization for Animals Health- OIE) as well as producing to Good Manufacturing Standards- GMP. BVI is certified against the BOS ISO 9001:2008 standards since 2007. BVI routinely sends its vaccines to the African Union Pan African Veterinary Vaccines Centre (AU PANVAC) for independent quality control testing.
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EVOLUTION OF BVI
Arrival in Botswana from France of BSL 3 Lab for FMD Research after successful signing of agreement of cooperation between Botswana Government and IFFA Merieux on 12 May 1978.
BSL 3 Lab being laid down at the BVI site in 1978 signaling the start of the project whose objective was to research on viruses circulating in the region and to make appropriate vaccines to safeguard beef trade.
After success of the project a permanent structure for vaccine production was built in 1980 allowing for increased production capacity, improved production flow and compliance to set international standards. The permanent structure also allowed the housing of other important laboratories complimentary to production.
Due to increasing demand for FMD vaccines a new state of the art FMD production Lab was built and official opened in 2010. This new Lab has more than double previous capacity as well as now allowed BVI to produce both purified and non purified FMD vaccines as well as house emergency antigen Banks, a first for Africa.