USDA seeks speedy creation of swine H1N1 vaccine


Assuming H1N1 will be found in swine herds by fall, USDA is working to speed production of a vaccine for pigs.


-- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in anticipation that the H1N1 virus could be found in U.S. swine herds by fall, is working to speed production of a vaccine for the virus that can be used in pigs.

“This fall, it is possible that we will find the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in swine. USDA has implemented a swine influenza virus-surveillance program,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“Monitoring and studying these influenza viruses in swine will help us learn about the virus, create better tools to diagnose and develop new and improved vaccines to protect U.S. swine herds.”

H1N1 has yet to be found in U.S. swine herds, but has been detected in Canada. For if, or when, it does appear in U.S. swine, Vilsack says USDA has made a master seed virus of H1N1 available to interested veterinary biologics manufacturers to allow them to “more rapidly produce an approved vaccine.”

USDA expects the move will save manufacturers time normally spent in development, testing and regulatory submissions.

If the virus is detected in U.S. herds, USDA says it will work with producers and their veterinarians to prevent the spread of the virus, adding that no infected swine will go to slaughter for human consumption unless they are fully recovered.

The hope is that the vaccine will be developed within this calendar year, according to USDA.

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