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Introduction of Equine Influenza Virus Vaccine

Merial Introduces RECOMBITEK® Equine Influenza Virus Vaccine

Eliminates viral shedding and helps protect against current threat

DULUTH, Ga. — December 18, 2006 — Today Merial announced the addition of RECOMBITEK® Equine Influenza Virus vaccine to its recombinant vaccine line — the first and only equine influenza vaccine that uses canarypox-vectored technology in the United States. RECOMBITEK Equine Influenza Virus vaccine is proven against a recent, highly virulent American strain of equine influenza (N/5/03) and helps stop the spread of influenza by eliminating viral shedding.1

“Merial is committed to providing innovative vaccine technology,” says Frank Hurtig, DVM, MBA, Associate Director of Equine Veterinary Medical Affairs, Merial Ltd. “The canarypox vector enables this to be the first vaccine demonstrated to stimulate both a protective cell-mediated as well as humoral immune response to equine influenza. In addition, this protection was proven in the face of a highly virulent and very recent American strain of flu. This vaccine also stopped viral shedding,1 which is critical because, on average, a horse sick with influenza can infect up to 10 other horses.2 The canarypox vector takes veterinary medicine beyond traditional vaccines to help veterinarians and horse owners safeguard horses against this highly contagious virus with a convenient intramuscular administration.”

Nearly all horses exposed to influenza become infected, although nearly 20% may show no clinical signs of the disease. Infected horses, whether or not they have signs of influenza, can shed the virus, expose other horses to illness and spread infection. It often takes two weeks or longer for a healthy, adult horse to recover from an influenza infection, but it can be fatal for older animals or young foals.3 Influenza also is a leading cause of respiratory disease in horses.4

RECOMBITEK Equine Influenza Virus injectable vaccine has demonstrated a strong immune response, even against a highly virulent, current American threat like N/5/03 in a controlled study.1 The canarypox-vectored vaccine technology uses only the influenza proteins that are needed to stimulate immunity. In addition, the vaccine also is safe enough to be administered to foals as young as 4 months of age.5

“Providing a quick, strong immune response for more susceptible horses while eliminating flu virus shedding has been a challenge for the entire industry,” Dr. Hurtig says. “This technology will help horse owners keep their animals healthy.”

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 5,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2005 sales were in excess of $1.9 billion. Merial Limited is a joint venture between Merck & Co. and sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see http://www.merial.com.

1Paillot R, et al. Antibody and IFN-γ responses induced by a recombinant canarypox vaccine and challenge infection with equine influenza virus. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. 2006;112:225-233.

2Minke JM, Bublot M. Equine influenza: An update. Bull. Acad. Vét. France. 2004;157(4):43-49.

3Equine influenza backgrounder. American Veterinary Medical Association Web site. 2005. Available at: http://www.avma.org. Accessed August 4, 2006.

4Paillot R, et al. Vaccination against equine influenza: Quid novi? Vaccine. 2006;24:4047-4061.

5RECOMBITEK® Equine Influenza Virus vaccine product label indications.

 

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