It began with Prof. Aini's PhD work on Newcastle Disease. She and Prof. Latiff were working with V4, heat-tolerant ND virus.
ND is a devastating poultry disease that can kill as high as 100% of unvaccinated chickens within a matter of days. I have seen my mother's village chickens falling dead from their roosting place, just like that. Ok a day before and dead a day later.
Vaccinated chickens are normally protected, but it is always almost impossible to catch and vaccinate free-roaming village chicken.
So with this problem a new idea was born. Why not come up with a vaccine that is heat-tolerant? That was how V4 ND vaccine came about.
The then Prime Minister was very impressed with the discovery and asked for it to be commercialized. At that particular time there was no company in the nation that was involved in vaccine production. So, MVP (Malaysian Vaccine and Pharmaceuticals company was born).
The vaccine was proven very effective and exported to many African and Asian countries.
The strange thing was that Malaysians at first were not very confident with our own vaccine. They still trust more the imported vaccines. I hope with time and after they have looked at the efficacy of the vaccine used in foreign countries, they will fully support our cheaper but more effective vaccine!
The recent seminar highlighted one main issue - the very long time taken from the birth of the idea to finally produce the vaccine commercially. As in this case, it took them 12 years!
The other issue is lack of fund for such a research. Government as well as the industry players should make it their social obligation to help by allocating certain percentage of their profit to R&D works.