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Brussels hoping for new bluetongue vaccine next year

24 September 2007

BRUSSELS — The EU Commission hopes for a vaccine next year to protect farms against the bluetongue strain moving northwards through Europe, and is planning rule changes to help, a spokesman said Monday.

Britain has become the latest European Union member state to be struck by the serotype 8 bluetongue strain which affects ruminants and for which there is as yet no vaccine.

Two companies are currently well advanced in their work on a vaccine and it could be developed within months, although getting it to the market, and in quantity, would take longer, said Philip Tod, spokesman for EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou.

"We understand that they expect to have a vaccine ready by early next year," he said, referring to the companies involved, Intervet and Merial.

The European Commission hopes to facilitate the introduction of a vaccine by addressing restrictions on the trade of vaccinated animals, he added.

"Bluetongue is now widespread in a number of countries in the European Union and would seem to be well-established. Therefore vaccination becomes a much more important instrument," Tod told AFP.

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Source: afp


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