A bluetongue vaccine will soon be available to help vets and farmers act quickly when dealing with cases in the United Kingdom.

bluetongue
Bluetongue is an increasing threat to cattle and sheep in Europe, including the UK. Image: Institute for Animal Health.

MSD Animal Health has signed an agreement with Spanish veterinary biopharmaceutical specialist CZ Veterinaria SA to distribute its Bluevac BTV8 vaccine – which has been used in Europe for a number of years – throughout the UK.

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

Good news

According to John Atkinson, MSD Animal Health vet and technical manager, the availability of Bluevac BTV8 is good news for the UK’s livestock industry and demonstrates how pharmaceutical companies are responding to changing disease threats.

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

Discussing roll-out

“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.”

The company is in discussion with UK industries and vets to agree the most effective roll-out of the vaccine to help protect cattle and sheep holdings in the most vulnerable areas of the country.

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