9 Dec 2009 11:58

Zhejiang sets up pathogen-free poultry farm

Shanghai. December 9. INTERFAX-CHINA - Zhejiang Hengda Agriculture Development Co. Ltd. has established Zhejiang Province's first Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) poultry farm, local media reported on Dec. 9.

According to Ningbo Daily, the farm is located in Zhejiang's Ningbo City and will supply SPF eggs for use in the research and development (R & D) and production of vaccines.

"Chick embryo is predominantly used in the cultivation of vaccine virus cells and in virus research. As such, there are stringent requirements such as that the embryos must be guaranteed free of pathogens so that diseases do not interfere with experiments," Shen Wenliang, Hengda Agriculture's general manager, told Interfax.

According to the report, Hengda Agriculture has bought 15,000 SPF eggs from the US in October this year for breeding into pathogen-free chickens. The farm is expected to start producing SPF eggs by April next year.

Liang Xiaofeng, an expert from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, was quoted as saying in an Economic Observer report published in late November this year that one SPF egg is required in the production of 1.5 doses of influenza A (H1N1) vaccines. Liang also noted that between August this year and April next year, China may need 67 million SPF eggs in the production of A/H1N1 vaccines.

At present, there are no more than 10 SPF poultry farms in China located in provinces including Jiangsu, Hebei and Hubei. The majority of SPF eggs required for the R & D and production of vaccines in China are currently imported from the US.