MSD Animal Health launched its new vaccine - Bovilis INtranasal RSP® Live - to the NI market at a recent vet meeting which highlighted the importance of reducing Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) in calves.
The new intranasal, live vaccine can be used in calves from one week old for active immunization and to reduce clinical signs of BRD and viral shedding from infection with Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV) and Parainfluenza-3 Virus (PI3V).
Over 50 vets attended the meeting at Hilton Templepatrick to hear from leading immunology expert Professor Hans-Joachim Schuberth about the importance of early vaccination against BRD in livestock, as well as important insights from Fergal Morris, general manager and Sarah Campbell, technical advisor for MSD Animal Health.
General manager of MSD Animal Health, Fergal Morris opened the meeting and explored the current challenges facing the industry, as well as pointing to future opportunities for growth: “This is a challenging time for the agricultural industry, as we come under increased pressure in relation to greenhouse gas emissions, changing consumer eating habits, and uncertainty surrounding Brexit. However, it is not the first time the industry has faced such challenges and it won’t be the last. When we look to the current situation in China, where 40% of the country’s national pig herd have been taken out of the market due to African swine fever, we can see there are big opportunities for producers in the UK and Ireland to fill this gap.
“We need to focus on controlling what we can control and send out a clear message to counteract any misinformation. The fact is that the agricultural industry represents a very small amount of overall CO2 emissions – burning fossil fuels remains by far the biggest source at around 92%. It is also important to note that sick animals produce more CO2 than healthy animals, so vets have a key role to play in minimising emissions from livestock by helping to prevent livestock disease. This preventative approach will also help to minimise antibiotic usage in the crucial fight against antimicrobial resistance.”
Professor Schubert, a renowned expert on bovine immunology from Hannover, spoke on the crucial role of ‘educating’ and developing a calf’s immune system from birth. “Research shows that across the globe, around half of calves don’t receive enough colostrum, which is vital for developing their immune system and preventing future health problems. This early colostrum also helps calves respond better to vaccination treatment.
“Tests show that a calf’s immune system really responds to an intranasal vaccine, as it is a very targeted way of delivering the vaccine directly to relevant cells. It has also been shown that a live vaccine is a much better inducer of trained immunity, compared with inactive vaccines. With vaccination, it really is the earlier the better – as the benefits of boosting the calf’s immune system at the outset will be long term.”
Sarah Campbell, technical advisor for MSD Animal Health, spoke about the new Bovilis INtranasal RSP Live vaccine, which will be available to the local market in early October.
“We are proud to be launching this novel vaccine, offering unique antigens and the earliest administration and fastest onset available on the market. Once administered, the vaccine will take one week to provide immunity, which will then last for 12 weeks. It is understood that BRD accounts for around 40% of deaths in calves between the age of one month to five months. This new live vaccine provides a valuable opportunity to significantly reduce that figure. Unfortunately, statistics from AIM show that around 75% of calves in Ireland aren’t vaccinated against BRD.
“This is partly due to misconceptions around vaccination as costly, being complex, or a lack of understanding about the prevalence of respiratory disease. Clearly, there is a role for vets to communicate the long-term benefits of vaccination and to highlight the significant costs of disease in relation to a reduction in milk, longer finishing times etc. Sick animals are also less efficient, and they use more feed, all adding to the farmers’ costs. We would encourage farmers keen to take control of BRD to speak to their vet about preventative treatment options.”