The South African Equine Health and Protocols NPC (SAEHP) team is extremely pleased with the report by the International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) of the significant progress made towards the development of a new vaccine against African horse sickness (AHS). The development of a new inactivated multivalent DIVA AHS vaccine as pointed out by Dr Göran Akerström, the FEI Veterinary Director, would indeed be of enormous benefit to both endemic areas for disease control purposes and free areas, as it would allow the creation of international vaccine banks.
Mr Louis Romanet, Chairman of the IHSC, stated that this achievement showcases the success of public-private partnerships.
SAEHP, originally created to develop and maintain AHS control measures that allow for the safe movement of horses under existing international protocols, has also benefited from a successful public-private partnership with the South African government, resulting in the implementation of the necessary AHS risk mitigation measures to meet EU standards. Hence South Africa is now in a position to confidently offer the world safe and sustainable bi-lateral trade from the AHS free zone in the legislated AHS control area, under the existing EU protocol. The South African Government is now actively engaged in negotiating the reinstatement of direct exports to the EU.
In the same manner, the South African Equine Industry must now finalise a focused Working Group to collaborate with the IHSC. The Equine Health Fund has been instrumental in taking the first steps towards forming an inclusive South African Working Group to move forward on such a collaborative effort. SAEHP is excited by the international attention and commitment to the development of a new AHS vaccine and is looking forward to the further progress of the project.