Scarce vaccine zaps circo virus

by 5m Editor
11 June 2007, at 5:02am

US - A hard-to-kill virus sweeping through hog herds worldwide is meeting its match: a vaccine that is very effective, but in short supply.

The virus, known as porcine circovirus, is "everywhere," said Dr. R.B. "Butch" Baker, senior clinician at Iowa State University's food supply veterinary service.

"This thing is not going to go away, it is very difficult to kill", Baker said at the World Pork Expo, which was held Thursday through Saturday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. ."

ISU is conducting research on the virus, he said, which started turning up in U.S. and Canadian hog herds in 2004 and 2005.

"We don't understand this virus very well," Baker said. "But we do know that the vaccine is a home run."

Three companies now make the vaccine, but it has only been available in small quantities.

"There has not been enough vaccine available in the past year," said Dr. Joseph Connor, a veterinarian from Carthage, Ill. "What we did with the limited amount we had was to move it around to our most severe cases. We were caught off guard by the ramp-up in the number of cases."

The three animal health companies that make porcine circovirus vaccine said at the World Pork Expo that they intend to increase production.

Craig Wallace, vice president of marketing for Fort Dodge Animal Health, said the company makes its Suvaxyn brand vaccine in Charles City and Fort Dodge. Most of the production is in Charles City, he said.

"We underestimated the market" for the vaccine, Wallace said, "but we are increasing our plants' capacity and production staff."

Fort Dodge Animal Health, a division of Wyeth, was founded in Fort Dodge in 1912. Its animal health headquarters are in Overland Park, Kan.

Fort Dodge Animal Health started selling Suvaxyn a year ago and sold 6 million doses of the vaccine, Wallace said. Sales totaled about $8 million, he said.

"We expect to sell more this year because of the increased production," Wallace said. "Suvaxyn is the No. 1 priority product in the organization."


5m Editor