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Avian flu vaccine licensed for use European Union

Intervet, animal vaccine producer and a business unit of Akzo Nobel, has been granted an EU licence for its Nobilis Influenza H5N2 vaccine.

As a result Europe now has a licensed vaccine to protect birds against the current H5N1 field strain particularly in autumn/winter, the period of greatest epidemiological risk for European bird populations.

The Nobilis Influenza vaccine range has already been used very successfully namely in Hong Kong, Italy and Vietnam in official governmental avian flu control programmes. In Europe it has been used especially for the protection of birds in zoos and in water fowl in France.

The sale and supply of the vaccines in Europe is only permitted under strict guidelines set out by the European Community legislation on the control of avian influenza. Use of the vaccine must be authorised by the competent authority of the EU Member States.

Intervet's vaccine is based on a different strain (H5N2) than the current field strain (H5N1). Birds vaccinated with H5N2 form a different set of antibodies than those birds infected with H5N1, but vaccination with the Nobilis vaccine should protect against H5N1 infection.

The vaccines, containing inactivated virus, have to be injected in order to get full immune response. Intervet is investigating the possibilities for mass application avoiding injection.

Vaccination can play an important supporting role in controlling an outbreak and should be used alongside quarantining infected farms, eradication of infected or potentially exposed flocks and stringent sanitary measures.

Editor WorldPoultry

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