Halal vaccines for three serious illnesses could be publicly available in three years after a Saudi company partnered with Malaysian health authorities.
The unnamed Saudi firm would invest $100m to develop pork-free vaccines for meningitis, hepatitis and meningococcal disease, the Malaysian Minister for International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed announced at the World Halal Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
“The halal vaccines will help alleviate fears and doubts among Muslims on the integrity of the products,” he said, according to Malaysian reports.
The Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) in Malaysia, which covers halal standards, audit and certification, is working to produce the vaccines with animal extracts from animals slaughtered according to Islamic teachings.
“We are finding ways to make the vaccines halal and hope to complete it as soon as possible,” HDC CEO Datuk Seri Jamil Bidin was quoted as saying.
“The vaccines that are the focus of local and international scientists and Shariah experts are meant to treat meningitis, hepatitis and meningococcal (disease).
“We are focusing more on meningitis vaccines, which are required for those who perform the Haj pilgrimage, but are currently pork-based.
“Pork-free vaccines will be in high demand, not only among Muslims but also non-Muslims. People will go for the alternative once they know about it. After developing these three vaccines, we will continue to produce others.”
Halal products and services have grown in popularity and demand in recent years and now account for about 10 percent of the global economy.
Dubai has announced its intention to be the world capital of the Islamic economy, including halal products.
In January, the emirate announced it would launch an international accreditation centre for halal food, while it is also working on finalising regulations to certify halal products in a move that could have a global impact.