Pfizer’s Vaccine Against Boar Taint Approved

by 5m Editor
21 May 2009, at 3:30pm

FRANCE - Pfizer Animal Health today announced that The European Commission has given Pfizer the go-ahead to market its innovative swine vaccine, Improvac®, across the European Union (EU).

Improvac®, now approved in 52 countries around the world, provides a reliable reduction of boar taint in male pigs while improving the profitability and sustainability of pig production as well as the welfare of pigs. It represents an efficient and animal friendly alternative to physical castration; proven to make no compromise on meat quality. With a zero day withholding period, Improvac® fully answers consumers demand for safety, taste and animal welfare.

The EU is one of the world’s largest pork producing and consuming markets and the EMEA authorisation opens a new era for all pig producers. Vaccinating with Improvac® means that male pigs can be raised to the same weight using less feed than for castrates, benefiting fully from the naturally better Feed Conversion Ratio of entire males, virtually without risk of tainted meat or of undesirable behaviour that male pigs express when reaching puberty.

Improvac® reduces reliably the levels of androstenone and indirectly skatole - the two major boar taint compounds - to below sensory thresholds.

The male pig is given two doses of the vaccine: the first dose “primes” the immune system but has little effect on the physiology of the pig; the second dose causes a significant and transitory antibody response, inducing the reduction of the concentration of the boar taint compounds and suppressing the boar-like undesirable behaviours. Improvac® was demonstrated to be at least as efficacious as physical castration in reducing boar taint, including on large commercial scale production units.

The first 2ml dose can be given from 8 weeks of age, and the second dose 4 to 6 weeks before slaughter (and at least 4 weeks after the first dose).