Schmallenberg vaccine application confirmed

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has confirmed that a vaccine for Schmallenberg virus proposed by the MSD Animal Health is under consideration.

The ‘Bovilis SBV’ vaccine comes as the virus continues to cause concern to livestock farmers in the sheep, cattle and goats season, due to its complications including foetal deformities, stillbirths and abortions in pregnant calves, lambs and ewes.

The virus has been of great concern since its discovery in 2011, and has spread rapidly throughout Europe, reportedly through infected midges.

In a press release, the VMD stated that although it is not common practice to release information regarding applications and the progression of applications, it will make an exception due to the urgency of the Schmallenberg virus and its media attention.

It said: "VMD received an application for a Provisional Marketing Authorisation at the end of August 2012. Following provision of further data, so that the application was complete, it passed validation mid-September 2012. The VMD completed its initial assessment and sent questions to the company towards the end of November 2012."

It added that although it this was showing good progress, the timing of when the vaccine will be authorised could not be discussed at the moment.

"The VMD will operate timelines for the remaining stages of consideration of the application, mindful of this, while ensuring, through our rigorous scientific assessment process, that proper care is taken to ensure any vaccine is safe for the relevant livestock."