A vaccine against foot-and-mouth disease has received conditional approval from U.S. regulators.
FMD is one of the most economically devastating diseases for producers of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and other cloven-hoofed animals.
The disease usually isn’t fatal, but it spreads rapidly and usually involves widespread culling and import-export restrictions on countries where the disease occurs.
Reuters recently reported that the vaccine will be developed by GenVec as that company’s first approved product. The conditional licence will allow the vaccine to be used in the event of an FMD emergency situation.
There are other FMD vaccines, but this one does not use a live virus and can be used to differentiate an infected animal from an inoculated animal using common diagnostic tests, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Those characteristics will allow it to be used in the event of an FMD infection without requiring widespread culling of herds.
The breakthrough is deemed to be the biggest news in FMD research in the past 50 years.