(Lenexa, Kansas – October 14, 2015) The Unites States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has awarded Ceva Animal Health a contract to manufacture doses of Vectormune® AI avian influenza (AI) vaccine.
According to the Agency's press release, APHIS has not approved the use of the vaccine in response to HPAI and the decision to stockpile vaccine does not signal a decision to vaccinate. It is only a preparatory step to ensure vaccine supplies are available in the event of a catastrophic outbreak of the virus.
"We have taken tremendous effort to prepare for this fall, on the potential that there may be additional introductions (of AI) as the migratory birds come back from the north. We will be prepared to vaccinate if necessary," said Dr. Mark Davidson, Associate Deputy Administrator of the National Import Export Services at the United States Department of Agriculture at the World Veterinary Poultry Association's 2015 Congress.
Ceva is committed to stopping the spread of zoonotic diseases. Because of the potential for avian influenza to spread from poultry to humans Ceva has studied the evolution of the virus and the increasing difficulty countries and regions have in containing its spread. Ceva's avian influenza vaccines are utilized in multiple geographical areas throughout the world.
"We hope the U.S. poultry producers do not have to suffer through an avian influenza (AI) outbreak this fall or during 2016. As part of the USDA vaccine stockpile, vaccine will be available for use by USDA if they decide to mandate vaccination," said Dr. Kristi Moore Dorsey, vice president of research and development.
Vectormune AI is a live HVT vaccine expressing the HA gene of an H5N1 avian influenza virus and was licensed by the USDA in 2012. Per the terms of the contract, Ceva will produce and store 100 million doses of Vectormune® AI. If APHIS decides to move forward with a vaccination program, vaccine can be delivered anywhere within the U.S. within 10 days. Production will take place at the company's facilities in Lenexa, Kansas.
Avian Influenza has changed dramatically in the last few years. To date, 2015 has seen 309 individual outbreaks of avian influenza reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), a 147% increase on outbreaks reported in 2014.