A vaccine against H5N1 avian influenza called Poulvac® FluFendTM i H5N3 RG has been given temporary approval by the French National Agency of Veterinary Medicine. The vaccine is an inactivated virus manufactured by Fort Dodge Animal Health using reverse genetics technology and has been demonstrated to reduce mortality following exposure to highly pathogenic bird flu viruses.
[The reverse genetics technology], known as the eight plasmid reverse genetics system, is a significant advantage for future poultry vaccines because it allows the antigen content to be standardized, according to Robert Webster, Ph.D., holder of the Rose Marie Thomas Chair, Department of Infectious Diseases, at St. Jude. “The standardization of antigen content is similar to human influenza vaccines, and more recently for equine influenza vaccines,” Webster said. “Thus, this new vaccine is a major advance for preventing infection of poultry with H5N1.”
The French government has already requested an initial supply of
7 million doses of this vaccine for use in ducks as part of an avian influenza control program. Additionally, Fort Dodge has already secured approvals for other bird flu vaccines including H5N9, H5N2, H7N1, H7N2 and H7N3 strains.