Media Coverage

Merck updates Prestige equine influenza vaccines


May 18, 2018 - Animal Pharm
By Sian LaZell
Animal Pharm
May 18, 2018


Merck Animal Health has launched a next generation line of influenza vaccines for horses.

The new influenza strains available in the company's Prestige line of vaccines have been developed to represent the most current equine influenza protection available.

The Prestige line now includes the Florida '13 clade 1 strain and Richmond '07 clade 2 strain, meeting the OIE and American Association of Equine Practitioners' guidelines for clade 1 and clade 2 strains.

The clade 1 family of equine influenza largely circulates in the US, while clade 2 primarily circulates in Europe.

The Prestige line of vaccines also features Merck's Havlogen adjuvant and Antigen Purification System, which it explained are formulated to maximize protection and minimize adverse reactions.

Equine influenza is an endemic disease and one of the most common causes of equine viral respiratory tract disease. The virus is difficult to control once it begins to circulate and can spread quickly. It can take an animal several weeks to months to recover.

D. Craig Barnett, director of equine veterinary professional services at Merck, said: "For the past 10 years, we've been monitoring influenza, along with other common infectious upper respiratory diseases, through the Merck Animal Health Biosurveillance Program – a partnership with the University of California, Davis.

"It was through this program that we identified and isolated a new highly infectious and relevant equine influenza strain from the 2013 Ocala, Florida influenza outbreak that impacted a large number of horses from all over the world.

"This strain is now part of our updated line of influenza-containing killed virus vaccines and represents a current, clinically significant strain responsible for a large influenza outbreak in well-vaccinated horses.

"Due to the evolutionary changes that occur with equine influenza, known as antigenic drift, influenza-containing vaccines must be updated periodically to ensure protection against current strains of influenza circulating in the field and impacting our horses. And while we have not had any outbreaks of clade 2 in the United States to date, US horses competing internationally should have clade 2 protection on board."

Reprinted with permission of Animal Pharm News

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