In July 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) sought public comment on a petition from a vaccine manufacturer seeking approval to produce foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine consisting of a modified non-infectious and non-transmissible strain of the virus on the U.S. mainland. APHIS announced Dec. 3 that it is reopening the comment period for an additional 30 days.
Although introduction of live FMD virus into the U.S. is prohibited by law, the petition states that this leaderless strain should not be considered live FMD virus as it is non-infectious, non-transmissible, and incapable of causing FMD.
With the reopened comment period, APHIS is providing commenters with additional scientific information supporting the determination that the leaderless virus strain from which Zoetis Inc. intends to produce FMD vaccine in the U.S. poses no risk of causing FMD infection in animals. This action gives interested persons the opportunity to review the additional information and submit comments, the agency said.
Public comments will be accepted here through January 4, 2021. APHIS said it will thoroughly review all comments before making its determination.
FMD is a severe and highly contagious viral disease affecting cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer and other animals with divided hooves. It was eradicated from the U.S. in 1929, but if it were to infect the U.S. livestock industry, it would cause devastating economic effects.