MSD Animal Health has submitted an application to license a Schmallenberg virus (SBV) vaccine, although it has refused to confirm reports it would be on the market in a matter of weeks.

MSD Animal Health has submitted an application to license a Schmallenberg virus (SBV) vaccine, although it has refused to confirm reports it would be on the market in a matter of weeks.

SheepOur sister publication, Veterinary Times, reported in June that a vaccine for SBV could be available by the end of the year, but articles in the farming press that it could be available in weeks are unfounded, according to a statement from MSD.

David Butler, press spokesman for MSD Animal Health, said: “MSD is working extremely hard to create it and is working with the regulatory authority to ensure a licence is available without delay, but that’s all we are able to say at this point.

“The position is consistent with the statement that was made [in June 2012] and we are rolling up our sleeves, along with the VMD, to make sure a vaccine is available as soon as possible. Reports that came out last week are pure conjecture.

“Obviously, because of the nature of the regulatory process, it is important to understand that it’s not possible to be any more specific yet as to when a vaccine will be available to UK farmers.”

Although not a notifiable disease, Schmallenberg has caused concern in the British sheep and cattle farming industries since it was identified in Germany in 2011. The first cases were reported in the south and east of England during spring 2012, but SBV has now spread throughout the British Isles.

In England and Wales alone, there have now been 429 reported cases in cattle and sheep.

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