The Malawi-based Centre for Ticks and Tick Borne Diseases (CTTBD) has manufactured and sold animal vaccines for over 30 years. The centre produces quality-assured vaccines, offers training in epidemiology and control techniques for tick-borne diseases and researches tick-borne diseases with research partners – the Institute of Tropical Medicine Belgium, Pfizer, Intervet, University of Pretoria Ondersterpoort Veterinary Institute.
The centre, formerly known as the Vaccine Production Centre, was established in 1979 by the African Union and was rebranded the CTTBD in 2001.
CTTBD produced Heartwater (Cowdria) vaccines, Anaplasma/Babesia vaccines and ECF antigen slides. The centre produces the following ECF vaccinations:
- Muguga trivalent (cocktail) for East African countries including Malawi
- Katete strain for Eastern Zambia
- Chitongo strain for Southern Zambia
Recently, the centre has undergone a revamp to include state-of-the art vaccine production and research equipment for quality assurance and production of the East Coast Fever vaccination.
CTTBD has worked with a variety of partners in the lead up to the ECF vaccination production. GALVmed, a non-profit organisation that makes livestock vaccines, diagnostics and medicines accessible and affordable through its partnerships, invested US$1.7 million in ECF equipment and training at CTTBD to produce the ECF vaccine. GALVmed is funded through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. GALVmed facilitated and funded the training of CTTBD technicians at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
The Muguga Cocktail ECF vaccine was originally developed by ILRI and its predecessor, the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD) and the Kenya Agricultural Research institute – now known as the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).
ILRI trained CTTBD technical staff and provided biological material to start the ECF production at CTTBD. Experts from ILRI, GALVmed, Wellspring Malawi and Pfizer Global Fellows conducted specialised courses at CTTBD on clinical trials, Muguga vaccine production theory, cost of gods, intellectual property management and business management.
Exopol, a Spanish commercial laboratory with vast experience in auto-vaccine design and production, trained CTTBD staff in vaccine-related molecular biology and cell culture techniques. Exopol is working with CTTBD to set up a laboratory at the centre that will support quality assurance and product improvement research.