U.S. Orders Stockpile of Avian Flu Vaccine

Drug makers Ceva Animal Health and Harrisvaccines win $6 million government contracts.

Chickens are at particular risk of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Woodley Wonderworks

Ceva Animal Health and Harrisvaccines have been awarded separate $6 million contracts to produce millions of doses of avian influenza vaccine for the National Veterinary Stockpile.

The vaccine will be held in reserve in case of another outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, a virus that led to the deaths this year of at least 50 million U.S. chickens and turkeys.

The contracts were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The agency stated that the drug stockpile is merely a defensive measure and “does not signal a decision to vaccinate.”

Harrisvaccines, based in Ames, Iowa, agreed to manufacture 48 million doses of Avian Influenza Vaccine, RNA, which received conditional license approval in September. Nearly half of the supply will be available within 45 days, the company noted. 

Ceva Animal Health, a Lenexa, Kan., division of the international company Ceva Santé Animale, will produce 100 million doses of Vectormune AI.

“We hope the U.S. poultry producers do not have to suffer through an avian influenza outbreak this fall or during 2016,” said Kristi Moore Dorsey, MS, Ph.D., Ceva Animal Health’s vice president of research and development.

“As part of the USDA vaccine stockpile, vaccine will be available for use by USDA if they decide to mandate vaccination,” she said.

Harrisvaccines referenced the poultry industry in the company’s contract announcement.

“The U.S. is taking an important first step in protecting our poultry and egg producers against another overwhelming loss,” said Hank Harris, DVM, Ph.D., the founder and CEO of Harrisvaccines.

USDA stated that Harrisvaccines and Ceva Animal Health must be able to:

  • Store the doses for up to five years.
  • Deliver the vaccines anywhere in the United States within 10 days upon request.
  • Ensure the vaccine’s continued potency.
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