UK: New Schmallenberg virus vaccine for cattle and sheep given go-ahead

Lamb born dead with arthrogryposis (persistent flexion of the joints) – arthrogryposis is one of the

Lamb born dead with arthrogryposis (persistent flexion of the joints) arthrogryposis is one of the congenital abnormalities associated with SBV infection (Schmallenberg Virus) - Credit: Archant

A vaccine targeting the Schmallenberg virus (SBV), which can cause serious deformities in new-born lambs and calves, has been given the go-ahead.

Schmallenberg virus vaccine is launched

Schmallenberg virus vaccine is launched - Credit: PA

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) of the United Kingdom has granted MSD Animal Health a provisional marketing authorisation for Bovilis(R) SBV, the first vaccine specifically targeting the Schmallenberg virus.

SBV, which emerged in late 2011, is transmitted via insects, mainly midges and causes passing symptoms such as fever, diarrhea and reduced milk yield in adult cattle and sheep, as well as congenital malformation in newborn calves and lambs.

As of March 2013, 1731 cases of SBV have been confirmed throughout the UK. SBV has now been detected in every county in England and Wales.

“On behalf of Merck MSD, we would like to thank the VMD for its partnership and support to fast track the availability of Bovilis(R) SBV to the market,” said Andras Bolcskei, Country Manager, MSD Animal Health UK.

“There was a tremendous urgency for a SBV vaccine in the UK especially given the marked increase in confirmed cases over the past year and the increasing importance to help control this devastating disease.”

Studies by MSD Animal Health found that all animals responded by forming virus neutralizing antibodies.

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The vaccine will be available in 20ml and 100ml vials.

MSD Animal Health says it is “working diligently to expedite stocks to the UK”.

Farmers interested in more information about the vaccine should contact their veterinary surgeon or MSD Animal Health’s Veterinary Support Group on 01908 685685.