Past presents Future: The History of Animal Vaccinology at Onderstepoort

  • 1896 – Dr Arnold Theiller (1867-1936) develops a vaccine to contain the Rinderpest epidemic that swept through South Africa, killing 66% of cattle herds and decimating the numbers within certain species of indigenous wildlife
  • 1898 – Rinderpest is eradicated
  • Dr Robert Koch (1843-1910), a pioneer in the field of microbiology and a Nobel Prize winner, visited South Africa to help investigate the East Coast Fever outbreak in 1903. By 1955, it can be asserted that the disease had been stamped out
  • 1905 – Early research commences to develop a vaccine to combat African Horse Sickness (Dikkop), a viral, vector-born disease and age-old scourge among equine populations in Africa
  • 1906 – the Blue Tongue vaccine is developed and remains in use for 40 years
  • 1908 – Onderstepoort is established with Arnold Theiller serving as its first Director of Veterinary Services
  • 1912 – the production of blood vaccines commences in the fight against parasitic organisms
  • 1928 – Viljoen’s spore anthrax vaccine developed
  • 1929 – Black Quarter Disease vaccine developed
  • 1948 – Mason and Sterne Botulism and the Sterne spore Anthrax vaccines put into production, both of which are still in use today
  • 1948 - a vaccine to combat Enterotoxaemia or Pulpy Kidney in sheep is cultured, as well as the Brucellosis vaccine – a contagious zoonosis that affects humans
  • During the ensuing years Onderstepoort was at the forefront in the research of cell culture technology. Vaccines against Blue Tongue, Lumpy Skin Disease and Rift Valley Fever may be added to its list of achievements. In 1968, the establishment of a vaccine factory proved to be the forerunner in large-scale production.
  • Today, OBP represents the sales division at Onderstepoort. It manages the production line that makes the product available to the agricultural and farming communities. New generation vaccines are tested using bio-scientific applications and technologies where health, immune response and safety for both animal and human is the fundamental priority governing vaccinology in a modern context.