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Rabies vaccine possible but difficult

Kurt and Peter Clausen (left) of Okosongoro Safari Ranch, Dr Rainer Hassel, Agra’s veterinarian and project team leader, Dr Adriaan Vos of IDT Biologika, Dr Fonnie Bruwer and Frank Wittneben, both from Agra ProVision.

A research project to determine the extent and impact of rabies on the local kudu population, and to establish practical counter measures, is gaining momentum.

The project announced this week it has gathered tentative information that an oral vaccine may be effective, but acknowledged that figuring out a way to administer such a vaccine to wild kudus remains a key obstacle.
Agra Provision, the custodian of the project, said this week “rabies in kudu and possible evidence of the existence of natural immunity in the animals requires a great deal of research. More information about the epidemiology as well as the development of a practical method to vaccinate kudu has started to be researched through the kudu rabies research project from June 2015, at the quarantined facility, about 40 kilometres north of Omaruru.
A team of specialists under the leadership of Dr Rainer Hassel of Agra including Dr Fonnie Bruwer of Agra ProVision, and Dr Adriaan Vos, senior scientist of IDT Biologika from Dessau in Germany, is using a vaccine from the German company to vaccinate semi-tame kudus kept in bomas.
After an adaptation period for the kudu, the project started by collecting blood samples, fitting ear tags, deworming and administration of an oral vaccine to a number of captive kudu. This first step will provide the basic and essential information required to do further research. The trial measures the vaccine’s effectiveness and establishes to what extent it will protect kudu against rabies infection. The second part of the trial will investigate whether rabies can be transmitted directly from one kudu to another without a so-called vector, typically a small carnivore like a mongoose, jackal or badger.
Dr Rainer Hassel said that traditionally, rabies is considered a disease affecting carnivores and transmitted to the species through direct contact such as licking or saliva. However, in domestic animals and human rabies; infections can be prevented through vaccination. But vaccination of free roaming wildlife using the traditional vaccine requires the use of helicopters and darting, making vaccination a very costly exercise, with a high chance to miss individual animals. It is for this reason that research is needed to explore alternative vaccination methods, such as has been successfully achieved in parts of Europe to vaccinate foxes using an oral bait.
Dr Adriaan Vos, Senior Scientist and Bait Expert of IDT Biologika was full of praise after being part of the first trial, and said “I don’t know what impressed me more; the facility where the animals are housed or the members of the project team who are so motivated to find a solution to counter the epidemic kudu rabies.” Expanding on the threat of disease, he stressed, “This disease is not only a threat for this iconic animal species but also for other wildlife species and livestock in Namibia.”
This serious disease not only continues to pose a threat to the kudu population, but also threatens to infect commercial livestock. The negative economic and health impact that a rabies outbreak can have on the farming community can be considerable. This project was commissioned by the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) and is implemented by Agra ProVision. The project is expected to take 13 months to complete having started on 01 March this year.

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.