Conditional licensure significant for range cattle management in West, as it means vaccine is now commercially available.

September 4, 2020

2 Min Read
UC Davis foothill abortion vax.jpg
Dr. Jeff Stott has spent several decades to bring this vaccine to market.University of California-Davis

Hygieia Biological Laboratories of Woodland, Cal., announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Veterinary Biologics has issued a conditional license for its epizootic bovine abortion (EBA) vaccine, according to a company announcement posted by the University of California-Davis (UC-Davis) School of Veterinary Medicine.

The announcement of conditional licensure signifies big news for range cattle management in the West, as it means that the vaccine is now available to producers commercially, the announcement said.

Utilized to prevent fetal loss in first-calf heifers from the bacteria Pajaroellobacter abortibovis, the vaccine will now be available through local livestock veterinarians. The vaccine is available in 30-dose vials and can be given to open animals of six months of age or older at least 60 days prior to the initiation of breeding.

EBA, also called foothill abortion disease, is often misunderstood and challenging to diagnose. Because of this, losses are difficult to calculate, but even a conservative estimate exceeds $10 million annually in California, Oregon and Nevada alone, the announcement said. This license marks an advancement in decreasing those substantial losses and comes as the result of decades of work by scientists and cattle producers.

First described in the 1950s by researchers at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, subsequent collaborations between UC-Davis, the University of Nevada-Reno and, later, the California Cattlemen’s Assn. proved invaluable in expanding the understanding of the disease and how to manage it, the announcement said. Grants such as the University of California Regents Proof of Concept Grant, the Russell L. Rustici Rangeland & Cattle Research Endowment as well as support from the Livestock Memorial Research Fund and the UC-Davis department of animal science continued to support the efforts and, after joining with Hygieia, commercialization of a vaccine has become a reality.

Vaccine trials have been conducted over a decade to establish the safety and efficacy of the product. According to Dr. Jeffrey Stott, lead researcher at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, "The vaccine has proven safe and phenomenally effective. The fervor for its widespread availability is palpable among cattle producers."

A vaccine manufactured by Hygieia has been used for the past two years in these trials. Since the license was issued, although cattle markets and prices will continue to fluctuate, beef producers now have a vaccine to combat foothill abortion losses.

“The licensing and availability of this vaccine is monumental for the beef cattle industry. For generations, producers have had to manage incredible losses from foothill abortion,” California Cattlemen’s Assn. president Mark Lacey said.

While the EBA vaccine is Hygieia’s first effort in beef cattle products, the company is known in food animal biologics, including for products in the dairy industry such as J-5 mastitis and hairy footwart vaccines, among others.

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