New bluetongue vaccines

/Two new vaccines against bluetongue serotype strain one will be produced within the UK to ensure the country is prepared for any future challenge from the disease.

Merial Animal Health has recently received positive opinions from the Committee for Medical Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) for BTVPUR AlSap 1 vaccine, which contains the inactivated bluetongue virus serotype one, and also for BTVPUR AlSap 1-8 vaccine, which contains antigens for both serotypes one and eight. The vaccines are indicated for use in cattle and sheep.

The company’s technical manager Brian Rice said: “To date, serotype one has not been found in the UK, although it is prevalent in other parts of Europe. The spread of bluetongue has been unpredictable, and these additional vaccines will give us a future ‘insurance policy’ for Europe.

“However, at present the UK is in a protection zone for BTV serotype eight alone and, therefore, this is the only vaccination permitted.”

In recommending the authorisation, the CVMP said there was a remaining risk from BTV1 for EU sheep and cattle and this meant there was a need to have authorised products available for use in the coming months.

Mr Rice urged farmers to remain vigilant and vaccinate their animals against bluetongue eight, despite there being no recent cases of the disease.

“The need for vigilance remains paramount,” he says. “It makes sense to ensure we preserve the current status, and protect the considerable investment of time and money which has gone in to achieving it.”

He adds that housing creates an ideal time to vaccinate against the disease.

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