The U.S. Department of Agriculture has selected Boehringer Ingelheim to continue supplying antigen for a vaccine bank that protects U.S. livestock from a potential outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), a highly contagious viral disease that affects cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and other animals with divided hooves.
Boehringer Ingelheim will build on work it has done since receiving a contract in 2020 to supply the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank.
Since receiving that contract, Boehringer Ingelheim has been supplying doses of foot-and-mouth disease vaccine antigen concentrate to the bank, a strategic reserve of frozen vaccine antigen concentrate that Boehringer Ingelheim could quickly formulate into finished vaccine in the event of a disease outbreak.
The company said it could supply those doses in a hurry to U.S. livestock producers in the event of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
“As a company dedicated to the well-being of animals and people, we are honored to help protect U.S. livestock from an outbreak that would have devastating consequences,” said Steve Boren, vice president of the Boehringer Ingelheim U.S. livestock business.
An industry leader in fighting FMD
Boehringer Ingelheim is a global leader in fighting FMD, with over 70 years of expertise. It has the world's largest vaccine portfolio against multiple FMD serotypes and strains that circulate in parts of the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America.
The company also has the expertise to formulate new vaccines to combat novel or emerging strains.
Boehringer Ingelheim is the world leader in the storage and management of FMD vaccine banks, maintaining about 17 FMD banks for various countries and organizations.
Foot-and-mouth disease does not affect people, but an outbreak would disrupt the food supply and cause billions of dollars in damage and losses to the agricultural industry and the U.S. economy.
Outbreaks in the UK in 2001 and South Korea in 2010-2011 caused billions of dollars in losses.
An effective insurance policy
The last outbreak of FMD in the United States happened in 1929, but veterinarians, livestock producers and industry groups have long warned about the possibility that globalization and international travel could bring the disease into the U.S. from parts of the world where it continues to affect animals.
Acting on those concerns, the U.S. Congress set aside money in the 2018 Farm Bill to create an animal vaccine bank, with an emphasis on FMD vaccine.
The National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank lets the U.S. stockpile material for veterinary vaccines and other materials to use in the event of an outbreak of a high-impact foreign animal disease. Boehringer Ingelheim also is supplying vaccine antigen concentrate to the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, which is composed of the U.S. and Canada.
The USDA announced recently that it would purchase additional FMD vaccine for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank and the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank “as an effective insurance policy in the extremely rare chance of an outbreak of certain high consequence foreign animal diseases, like foot-and-mouth disease” in the United States.