Funding constraints have hobbled Agriculture Research Council plans to manufacture a vaccine for foot and mouth disease, leaving SA reliant on costly imports from Botswana. The council, whose mandate is to conduct research to support local agriculture, has been under financial pressure for years. CEO Shadrack Moephuli said its current budget is at the same level it was in 2014-2015. The challenges it faces with its vaccine manufacturing ambitions are just one example of how local science is taking strain in the current fiscal climate, which has seen budget cuts instituted at a host of funding agencies. "We want to re-establish foot and mouth vaccine production in SA, but the government has not come to the party," Moephuli said on Thursday.

SA currently buys foot and mouth vaccine from the Botswana Vaccine Institute at €20 a dose, and purchases at least 300,000 doses every six months, he said. "That is a huge expenditure. If the government were to invest it in a vaccine manufac...

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