<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Strife-torn Kashmir has achieved a rare feat in the scientific research when its scientists developed a vaccine for the deadly foot-rot disease that has taken heavy toll on the sheep and goats in the state.Foot rot is a deadly disease caused by a bacterium which affects the foot of the sheep. Besides a puss formation, there is regular bleeding and even nails gouges out of the hooves of the animal. What is more alarming is that the male sheep are unable to breed in the breeding season and female sheep produce retarded offspring.It took six years for a team of scientists at Division of Veterinary Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology – Kashmir (SKUAST-K) to develop the vaccine, hailed as pioneering discovery in the farm science.”It is for the first time that vaccine has been developed for foot rot disease here. As the name suggests the foot of sheep gets affected by the bacterium. It is an organism which does not need oxygen but needs carbon dioxide for growth. This organism has different groups,” Dr Shakeel Ahmad Wani, Director Education SKUAST and head of the team of scientists that developed the vaccine, told DNA.The disease is so lethal that the weight of the animal is reduced by 10 per cent once infected by the bacterium. The bacterium infects the sheep when he grazes in the pastures and fields.”Such is the adverse affect of the disease that the sheep is unable to set foot on ground. Male sheep fail to breed in breeding season and female sheep produces under weight off springs whose survival chances are very low”, said Dr Wani.Scientists in Kashmir, however, accepted the challenge and produced a vaccine which could help in controlling this disease. “Antibiotics were providing temporary relief. This organism is very difficult to isolate. In fact it was the main hurdle that there was no vaccine for this disease. So our work was really cut out. We could succeed in isolating this organism,” said Dr Wani.On an average 13 per cent of sheep population in Kashmir is affected by the foot rot disease. “Farmers suffer Rs 20 crore annually due to this disease. Farmers sell their sheep and goat at throwaway prices because they are fed up,” said Dr Wani.The icing of the cake was that a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology- Kashmir (SKUAST-K) and M/S Soft Biotech Private Limited, New Delhi on Wednesday for undertaking the commercial production of foot rot vaccine.Lauding the research, J&K Governor NN Vohra stressed the crucial importance of Farm University taking up research projects for resolving and finding solutions to the varied problems faced in the agricultural production arena.
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