MALAYSIA – Malaysia is exploring opportunities to produce vaccines for the Newcastle Disease and Avian Influenza poultry diseases which cause huge losses to the national livestock industry, said Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said Malaysia wants to collaborate with any research institution which could come up with the vaccines as there was a dire need for them.
Mr Muhyiddin, who was given a briefing on seven types of research related to biotechnology, agriculture and veterinary services during a visit to the University of Maryland here Monday, said Malaysia was keen to establish collaboration with institutions which had undertaken research on the Newcastle Disease and Avian Influenza poultry vaccines.
“There is a dire need (to produce the vaccines). We have yet to overcome this problem. Perhaps, with this collaboration (with the University of Maryland), we can benefit. They have started projects in which we share an interest,” he told Malaysian journalists after the visit.
The University of Maryland, which Mr Muhyiddin visited as part of his four-day visit to Washington beginning Sunday, is recognised as a leading public research university in the United States.
Eighteen Malaysian students are pursuing their Masters degrees at the university, Bernama.com reports.
Mr Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, proposed a framework of collaboration or memorandum between Malaysia and the university to enable relevant agencies in Malaysia to establish collaboration in research, such as the production of animal vaccines.
He said the University of Maryland had forged collaboration with many countries, which had benefited from its research projects, such as the production of animal vaccines in Indonesia, Mexico and African countries.
“It is necessary to have a memorandum for us to identify areas of collaboration so that it can yield much benefit for Malaysia,” he said.
He said he was informed that the University of Maryland had begun collaboration with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) on vaccines, and he wanted it to progress to a more concrete stage.