New Publication –Economic assessment of African horse sickness vaccine impact

Elizabeth Redmond, Derrick Jones and Jonathan Rushton have collaborated to produce the now published article Economic assessment of African horse sickness vaccine impact.

Background: African horse sickness (AHS) is endemic in sub‐Saharan Africa posing a threat to equine populations in non‐endemic regions. Available vaccine technologies have limitations, creating barriers to horse movement, AHS control and, in non‐endemic areas or countries, rapid elimination of virus after incursion. The literature lacks an economic assessment of the benefits of bringing a new, more effective AHS vaccine to market.
Objectives: The study assesses the economic impact of AHS and tests the hypothesis that investment in a safer, more effective AHS vaccine would give an economic return.
Study design: Cost‐benefit analysis.
Methods: Primary and secondary data were collected to populate the cost‐benefit analysis model. A literature review was followed by a questionnaire survey and interviews to gather primary data. At‐risk populations were defined and qualitative assessment completed to narrow the target populations for quantitative assessment. A deterministic cost‐benefit model was developed in Excel and different scenarios tested. Break‐even and sensitivity analysis were conducted on key parameters.
Results: The economic impact of AHS was estimated to be US$95million per annum, and this was mainly in endemic regions with domestic equine industries and involved in international trade. Investment required to bring a new AHS vaccine to market was estimated to be up to US$3.5million, which was very small relative to the benefits estimated in this study. The economic return on investment in bringing a new AHS vaccine to market was predicted to be positive and the analysis demonstrates this result was robust.
Main limitations: Data for the analysis were scarce, requiring expert opinion and extrapolation by the authors. Sensitivity analysis with the deterministic modelling structure indicated there was no justification for stochastic modelling, given the robustness of the return on investment.
Conclusions: The analysis predicts a strong and robust economic return on the investment in bringing a new AHS vaccine to market. Main economic beneficiaries would be the high value horse sectors, specifically the equine industries in Republic of South Africa (RSA) and in non‐endemic countries. In addition, major benefits would be captured in poor communities in sub‐Saharan Africa where working equids are of high economic and social importance.

The article is available here in Equine Veterinary Journal.