Livestock farmers could shortly have another major player in the
marketplace from which to obtain Bluetongue vaccine. Fort Dodge
Animal Health has submitted a dossier on its BTV8 for VMD review
which, if given the green light, will put the company on target
to offer vaccine from May.
Fort Dodge, is already supplying Bluetongue vaccine to France
and Spain, and has stepped up BTV8 production at its Dutch plant
in Weesp, and Sligo, Ireland is expected to be approved imminently.
By May, product availability is scheduled to reach 5m doses.
The company will offer species specific products: its cattle vaccine
will have a higher antigen load needed to protect cattle while
a separate vaccine for sheep will enable flock dosing programme
booster vaccinations to be more cost effective. In addition, the
Fort Dodge BTV8 vaccine is anticipated to not only provide protection
from the disease but also block viraemia in sheep, a critical feature
in arresting virus transmission.
“The UK livestock industry is becoming increasingly aware
that the 22.5m doses of vaccine already ordered by Defra may not
be in sufficient quantity or delivered in sufficient time to cover
the 80% of cattle and sheep required for a control strategy to
be effective,” Fort Dodge Animal Health’s vet, David
Bartram told a briefing in London, today Monday 10 March.
“The majority of that order is for farmers located in England,
however Defra continues to push out the Protection Zone and ultimately
it could cover the whole of England. On Friday 7 March, the Scottish
Government held a stakeholder meeting to review the vaccine strategy
for Scotland. They may place a tender for 12m doses, which means
that Scottish farmers would also have access to BTV8 vaccine.
“In Wales 2.5 million doses from the initial Defra order
has been reserved for the areas closet to the threat however if
the disease spreads into Wales then further vaccine will be needed.
In Northern Ireland the strategy is to use control methods to prevent
the disease entering the province.”
He adds: “We are an established and credible player in the
BTV market in mainland Europe; our plants are at the forefront
of BTV8 development and produce a highly effective product which
will help prevent the spread of the disease. The news that we have
submitted our BTV8 dossier to the VMD last week is a major milestone
in the development of the product and means we are on track to
provide much needed vaccine by May.”
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