Schmallenberg vaccine due in UK this summer

By Line Svanevik

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Veterinary medicine Immune system Medicine Livestock

A vaccine to tackle the problems of the Schmallenberg Virus (SBV) is due to become available to UK farmers this summer, to protect sheep and cattle from the complications caused.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has announced that veterinary pharmaceutical company MSD Animal Health has been given a licence to provide the new vaccine.

CEO of VMD Pete Borriello said: "This is the culmination of intensive activity on the part of MSD Animal Health and the VMD to make a safe and effective vaccine available to tackle Schmallenberg.

"Without in any way compromising the scientific rigour of our assessment process, we accelerated our assessment so that a vaccine will be available this summer."

Borriello claimed that pushing forward the vaccine to become available this summer meant that sheep and cattle can become vaccinated before pregnancy, which will benefit the foetus.

Alick Simmons, deputy chief veterinary office of the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said: "It is welcome news for British farmers to have the choice to vaccinate their animals. The vaccine will give extra assurance against this disease on top of the natural immunity we expect sheep and cattle to develop after initial exposure."

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