USDA Moves to Stockpile Avian Flu Vaccines

US - Avian flu vaccine stockpiles will soon grow after the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) asked for proposals from companies to supply doses.
calendar icon 20 August 2015
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The department announced the measures as part of preparations for the potential recurrence in the autumn (fall) of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus that affected more than 48 million birds at over 200 poultry facilities earlier this year.

While APHIS has not yet approved the use of an avian flu vaccine, the Agency is preparing to ensure that vaccine is available should the decision be made to use it, and is examining the potential use of vaccine to help prevent illness in birds and interrupt the spread of the disease.

A stockpile of vaccine will be created for the Eurasian H5 (EA H5) virus strain that circulated in domestic poultry earlier this year. The request for proposals seeks vaccine manufacturers with the interest and capability to supply a variety of EA H5 vaccines in sufficient numbers to establish the emergency stockpile.

Vaccines will be carefully evaluated on a number of factors including their efficacy against EA H5 viruses, and products must meet all of APHIS’ safety, potency, and purity standards.

All eligible products to be considered must be either conditionally or fully licensed or permitted at the time of submission. Vaccine manufacturers will be evaluated on their ability to produce such vaccines in a timely manner in adequate numbers to meet the needs of the response.

In the same announcement, APHIS said it will publish an environmental assessment evaluating the potential environmental impacts of using vaccine in the event of an HPAI outbreak.

This assessment will look at two alternatives: approving vaccine use targeting EA H5 viruses, or taking no action. Once published, the EA will have a 30-day public comment period.

APHIS said the decision whether to use vaccination requires careful consideration of the efficacy of the vaccine, any impacts of using HPAI vaccine in the field, and the potential trade impacts, and would be made jointly by APHIS and State animal health authorities.

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