Bluetongue Vaccine Available from MSD Animal Health

UK - With an 80 per cent chance that the bluetongue virus will reach the south of the country later this summer, MSD Animal Health (known as Merck Animal Health in the US and Canada) has moved quickly to ensure a vaccine is available to help British farmers and vets prevent the disease securing a foothold in the UK.
calendar icon 2 June 2016
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MSD Animal Health - NYSE:MRK

The company has signed an agreement with respected Spanish-based veterinary biopharmaceutical specialist CZ Veterinaria S.A. (CZV) to distribute its BLUEVAC BTV8 bluetongue vaccine throughout Great Britain. BLUEVAC BTV8 is an established vaccine, having been used in Europe for a number of years.

According to John Atkinson, MSD Animal Health vet and Technical Manager, the availability of BLUEVAC BTV8 is good news for the British livestock industry and demonstrates how pharmaceutical companies are responding to changing disease threats.

“Bluetongue is an increasing threat to cattle and sheep in Europe, including the UK. This agreement means that we can help meet farmers’ needs later this summer – more quickly than we can fast track manufacture and supply of our own vaccine,” he said.

MSD Animal health anticipates that supplies of BLUEVAC BTV8 will be available to selected European countries, including the UK, in mid-July.

“Conveniently, BLUEVAC BTV8 is licensed for both cattle and sheep, and can be used during pregnancy. All animals should be given a primary course of two injections under the skin, three weeks apart. The immunity afforded by the vaccine lasts for a year after completion of the primary course,” added Mr Atkinson.

The company is currently in discussion with UK industry bodies and vets in practice to agree the most effective rollout of the vaccine to help protect cattle and sheep holdings in the most vulnerable areas of the country.

Farmers concerned about the local bluetongue threat should discuss the situation with their vet.

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