June 11, 2018
Merck Animal Health, a global leader in vaccine development, launched SEQUIVITY Technology at the World Pork Expo.
This innovative and highly advanced RNA Particle Technology, originally developed by Harrisvaccines before Merck Animal Health acquired that company in 2015, is used to create flexible, safe and precise vaccine solutions to new and evolving disease challenges.
Vaccination is essential to disease prevention and has been key to protecting animal health. SEQUIVITY represents a technological advance within the company’s existing vaccine portfolio, with a platform that uses genetic sequences for specific antigens found in disease producing pathogens, Merck Animal Health said. This allows the creation of vaccines as needed in response to new or progressing diseases.
“By producing herd-specific custom vaccines, the technology enables producers and veterinarians to tackle animal health issues quickly and safely,” said Dr. Joe Roder, technical services manager, Merck Animal Health. “Since diseases differ around the world, the technology allows us to diagnose specific disease risks and take a targeted approach to disease control, depending on the exact needs of the country or region.”
In addition to being able to customize vaccines to meet specific threats, the SEQUIVITY platform technology can be used to provide a solution in a short period of time, where traditional vaccines can take years to develop.
Along with the technology platform, Merck Animal Health will also be rolling out a SEQUIVITY dashboard that will allow for geospatial mapping, which will allow livestock producers and veterinarians to watch viral strains active in their area so they can know what to expect.
How it works
Vaccination mimics infection by introducing inactivated whole pathogens (antigens) into the animal to stimulate the immune system. For a conventional vaccine, the antigen is grown in the lab, deactivated or killed and then presented to the body. However, with SEQUIVITY and its RNA Particle Technology, an electronic gene sequence is utilized.
After receiving the sequence, it is synthesized into RNA and inserted into the SEQUIVITY platform, which generates RNA particles. When injected in the animal, these particles provide instructions to the immune cells to translate the sequence into proteins which act as antigens.
Then, when challenged with an actual live pathogen, the animal’s immune system recognizes the antigen and a targeted immune response is triggered.
The platform currently has a large, and growing, library of genes of interest (GOI), which triggers an immune response when the RNA particle enters a dendritic cell.
The platform is also being used and further developed in other species, including bovine, equine, avian and farmed aquaculture.
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