A comparison of Newcastle disease vaccines available in Malawi

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There are a number of live vaccines available in Malawi to combat Newcastle disease (ND) in poultry. Some are best suited for use in commercial poultry; others for use as a booster vaccine; others for use in free-range village poultry. How then to decide which is correct?

The active constituents of all these vaccines are types (strains) of Newcastle Disease virus which are weak. We give them names like I‑2, LaSota, Hitchner, etc. The vaccine virus is strong enough to get into the body of the vaccinated chicken but not strong enough to kill it. In the week or so after vaccination, the vaccine virus causes the chicken to create its own immunity. That same immunity will fight off a future infection by the real Newcastle disease virus.

Below is a brief summary of some of the more important features of the live vaccines currently available. It will help you decide which particular Newcastle disease vaccine is best suited for your purposes.

With all vaccines (indeed all medicines), read the label carefully and in particular check the expiry date, storage conditions, and method of reconstitution if required.

Vaccine strain1 Usual Administration Immuno-genicity2 Vaccinal reaction3 Thermo-stability4 Cost5
Hitchner Water6 ++++ Low Medium Low
F strain Water ++++ Low Medium Low
La Sota Water +++++ Moderate7 Medium Low
La Sota Eye drop
(Hester Thermostable ND)
+++++ Moderate Medium Low
I-28 Eye drop +++++ Very low Good8 Medium


1. Not to be confused with trade name. The same strain might be available under different trade names.

2. This is a measure of the 'strength' of the vaccine in protecting chickens from ND.

3. This is a measure of the 'safety' of the vaccine in not harming chickens.

4. This is a measure of how long the vaccine stays effective after removal from the fridge.

5. Indicative cost per dose. In practice, all these vaccines are extremely cheap considering their potential to prevent significant losses.

6. Vaccines administered via water are best for housed chickens. For village chickens, vaccines administered by eye drop are more effective.

7. La Sota and I-2 are slightly different. I-2 is weaker and does not make chickens sick. La Sota is a bit stronger and may make young chicks sick and some might even die. So why use it? Because the immunity it produces is also stronger. That is why it should be used as a booster vaccine in chickens which have previously been vaccinated.

8. I-2 and La Sota (eye-drop) are well suited for use in village poultry. Other ND vaccines work well in housed chickens but their effectiveness under practical village conditions has been disappointing.


Anon. "Newcastle disease vaccines: an overview". http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/ac802e/ac802e04.htm (Accessed 2 January 2022)

Bell, JG. 2000. "A comparison of the different vaccines available for the control of Newcastle disease in village chickens". https://www.aciar.gov.au/sites/default/files/legacy/node/2131/pr103_pdf_63743.pdf (p56-60. Accessed 2 January 2022)

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