The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved Boehringer Ingelheim's Bovela, a new vaccine for active immunization of cattle against the virus causing the severe cattle disease bovine viral diarrhea (BVD). The launch of Bovela is planned for spring 2015.
Bovela is an important advance in safeguarding the health of cattle against one of the major cattle diseases with worldwide distribution, the announcement said. It reduces clinical signs and prevents the birth of so-called persistently infected (PI) animals caused by transplacental infection. PI animals are considered the main reason why this disease is still perpetuated. Bovela, moreover, is the first vaccine registered in the European Union containing both genotypes of the BVD virus (BVDV-1 and BVDV-2).
"The European marketing authorization for Bovela marks an important step to control BVD," explained Dr. Joachim Hasenmaier, responsible for the Corporate Board Divisions Animal Health and Consumer Healthcare at Boehringer Ingelheim. "Our long-term objective is to provide worldwide protection against this disease and to reduce the number of infected cattle significantly. Therefore, we plan to launch Bovela in important cattle farming regions all over the world in the following years."
BVD — like any viral disease — is not treatable. Affected animals suffer severely from the infection. The disease can cause a variety of clinical symptoms, including immunosuppression (i.e., the reduced activity of the immune system to fight back other pathogens), infertility, abortions and congenital defects in calves. Some animals may develop a more severe condition known as mucosal disease, the result of which is a high mortality rate in affected animals.
BVD also has a heavy economic impact on cattle farmers due to decreased weight gain, decreased milk production, reproductive losses, or even the death of the infected animals. Most of the animals show symptoms that can be confused with other diseases; this makes the detection and control of this concealed disease even more complicated.
In the EU, the seroprevalence — i.e., the percentage of cattle tested positive for BVDV — is around 60%. Depending on the size of the herd, this can result in a large amount of animals suffering from the disease and bearing a certain risk to healthy cows. Bovela will allow veterinarians and farmers to have a new and convenient tool to protect cattle from BVD, Boehringer Ingelheim said.