University lauds vaccine's benefits

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 12:00am

A United States body which helped invent a vaccine for cows is encouraging China to approve the series of shots so its five million dairy cattle can safely meet a growing consumer demand for milk.

James Cullor, veterinary school director of the University of California's Davis campus, was in Beijing at the invitation of China's Ministry of Agriculture and the vaccine vendor - California-based Asia Capital Group.

He was trying to convince about 50 Chinese dairy industry representatives they should consider the antibody-producing vaccine - J-5.

The central government is examining the vaccine with a view to its approval for use in China.

It is used on half the US herd and also for cows in Europe and Latin America.

For US$10 the cows get three shots a year and up to 80 per cent chance of avoiding coliform bacterial diseases such as mastitis, which has affected 30 per cent of China's cows and had the potential to kill stock. The milk from diseased cows is not safe, and the disease has reduced the mainland's milk output by 25 per cent.

Mr Cullor said it was imperative for China to use the vaccine.

It was used all over the world, and he strongly recommended China introduce it immediately.

China Agricultural University veterinary medicine college dean Wang Ming said the quality of the nation's milk varied according to the producer.

Mr Wang said the vaccine would help set a standard for the milk which was sold on the mainland.

It was also the right time for such health protection considerations as more Chinese people were drinking milk, Mr Wang said.

As people had more money, they wanted milk, he said.

The government also had been encouraging milk consumption in schools.

A representative of Asia Capital Group indicated the company, which specialises in herbal medicines and farm products, would produce the vaccine once it had been approved for use in China.