First RNA-particle vaccination for canine influenza receives USDA approval

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NOBIVAC NXT Canine Flu H3N2 will help safeguard dogs against the highly contagious respiratory disease

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Merck Animal Health announced that its latest product, NOBIVAC NXT Canine Flu H3N2, has received approval from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to an organizational release,1 NOBIVAC NXT Canine Flu H3N2 is a vaccination that leverages RNA-particle technology to allow a precise immune response to protect against a range of bacterial and viral pathogens.

"On behalf of Merck Animal Health and our NOBIVAC brand, we are beyond proud to introduce our latest vaccine using ‘NXT-level’ technology. This is a groundbreaking advancement in our vaccine pipeline designed to meet the evolving needs of veterinarians and pet owners alike,” said Christine Royal, DVM, vice president, companion animal and equine business unit, Merck Animal Health.1 “With over 70 years of innovation and commitment to animal health, our new NOBIVAC NXT technology will continue to lead the way in providing breakthrough solutions for the prevention of disease in animals.”

NOBIVAC NXT Canine Flu H3N2 is currently the first and only canine influenza vaccination to be built on the company’s RNA-particle platform to protect pets against the most prevalent canine influenza spreading across the United States. The vaccination is a nonadjuvanted, low-volume 0.5 mL dose that utilizes the immune system’s natural ability to generate a response without compromising the safety or comfort of the pet.1 The vaccination is indicated for healthy dogs 8 weeks or older against canine influenza H3N2.

According to the American Veterinary Medicinal Association, canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by 2 type A influenza virus. Canine patients of any age, breed, sex, or health status are at risk and infections can occur anytime during the year. Almost all dogs exposed to the virus become infected and clinical signs include the following2:

  • Persistent cough
  • Thick nasal discharge
  • Fever, typically around 104-105 ºF
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Runny eyes

When it comes to recovery, most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks with mild illness, but some infected canines present perfectly healthy. In the worst cases, those infected have developed complications such as bacterial pneumonia. The risk of death is low with only about 1-5% of infected dogs passing away from the disease. Currently, there have been some cases of cats, the highest at risk are those living in shelters, becoming infected with the diseases, but there is currently no evidence that humans can become infected with the disease.2

“Vaccination is the best form of protection against this highly transmissible disease. When canine influenza does show up in large outbreaks, it can have a widespread impact,” said Meg Conlon, DVM, executive director, veterinary professional services, Merck Animal Health.1 “Pets have become part of the family and are integrated into so many aspects of our lives, which makes vaccination even more crucial. At Merck Animal Health, we continue to stress the importance of preventative care to keep our beloved pets healthy and protected from potential illness.”

In 2009, Merck Animal Health launched NOBIVAC Canine Flu H3N8, the first canine influenza vaccination to hit the market. Once the canine influenza became an epidemic in 2015 within the US, Merck Animal Health made its monovalent H3N2 vaccination available to protect canines. Then, in 2016, Merck Animal Health received a fully licensed bivalent and monovalent H3N2 vaccination.

“As a leader in innovation and trusted advocate for disease prevention, Merck Animal Health uses its leadership and expertise in research and development to make medicines that help keep pets safe,” said Ian Tarpey, vice president, research and development, Merck Animal Proprietary Health. “The NOBIVAC NXT innovation represents a major advancement in vaccine technology and furthers our commitment to animal care by helping veterinarians protect pets from significant disease and ultimately, improve their lives by preventing health issues.”

NOBIVAC NXT Canine Flu H3N2 will become available to veterinary clinics and hospitals throughout the United States late this summer.1

References

  1. USDA approves Merck Animal Health’s NOBIVAC NXT Canine Flu H3N2 – The first and only RNA-particle technology vaccine for canine influenza. News release. Merck Animal Health. June 25, 2024. Accessed June 25, 2024.
  2. Canine influenza. American Veterinary Medical Association. Accessed June 25, 2024. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/canine-influenza
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