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Merial Adds Recombitek Equine Influenza Virus Vaccine to its Line

Horse Vaccines

On Saturday, Dec. 2, Merial announced the addition of Recombitek Equine Influenza Virus vaccine to its recombinant vaccine line--the first and only equine influenza vaccine in the United States that uses canarypox-vectored technology. Recombitek Equine Influenza Virus vaccine is proven against a recent, highly virulent American strain of equine influenza (N/5/03) and helps stop the spread of influenza by eliminating viral shedding.

"Merial is committed to providing innovative vaccine technology," said Frank Hurtig, DVM, MBA, associate director of equine veterinary medical affairs for Merial Ltd. "The canarypox vector enables this to be the first vaccine demonstrated to stimulate both a protective cell-mediated as well as humoral immune response to equine influenza. In addition, this protection was proven in the face of a highly virulent and very recent American strain of flu.

"This vaccine also stopped viral shedding, which is critical because on average, a horse sick with influenza can infect up to 10 other horses," continued Hurtig. "The canarypox vector takes veterinary medicine beyond traditional vaccine to help veterinarians and horse owners safeguard horses against this highly contagious virus with a convenient intramuscular administration."

Nearly all horses exposed to influenza become infected, although nearly 20% might show no clinical signs of the disease. Infected horses, whether or not they have signs of influenza, can shed the virus, expose other horses to the illness, and spread infection. It often take two weeks or longer for a healthy, adult horse to recover from an influenza infection, but it can be fatal for older animals or young foals. Influenza also is a leading cause of respiratory disease in horses.

Recombitek Equine Influenza Virus injectable vaccine has demonstrated a strong immune response even against a highly virulent, current American threat like N/5/03 in a controlled study. The canarypox-vectored vaccine technology uses only the influenza proteins that are needed to stimulate immunity. In addition, the vaccine also is safe enough to be administered to foals as young as four months of age.

"Providing a quick, strong immune response for more susceptible horses while eliminating the flu virus shedding has been a challenge for the entire industry," Hurtig says. "This technology will help horse owners keep their animals healthy."