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Bluetongue: Vaccination

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on progress in developing a vaccine for the bluetongue strain BTV8; what the involvement of (a) Merial and (b) other pharmaceutical companies is in this process; and what work is being undertaken in co-operation with other EU countries. (159530)

[holding answer 19 October 2007]: There is currently no suitable inactivated vaccine for bluetongue serotype 8 (BTV-8) available, as this serotype only emerged in Europe last year.

We are aware of a number of companies such as Merial, Intervet and Fort Dodge who are developing such a vaccine and we are in urgent discussions with all these companies to do what we can to encourage this work. DEFRA officials recently participated in a conference with those companies and other member states affected by BTV-8 to discuss the availability of vaccines and possible approaches to vaccination. We are also developing a plan with the farming industry as to how a vaccination campaign could work once a vaccine becomes available, and is licensed as safe and effective for use, which we understand should be next summer.