Identifying a vaccine that uses a modified virus will enable USDA to more quickly source and acquire FMD vaccine in the event of an outbreak of this devastating disease. With this announcement, vaccine companies may now apply for USDA permits to continue their work with this specific modified, non-infectious FMD virus in the United States. All permits granted would include appropriate biocontainment and use restrictions, and may be revoked if warranted.
In order to protect our nation’s livestock, the live FMD virus was previously not allowed anywhere in the country except for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, where it was held and worked with under very strict biocontainment procedures. However, with advances in technology, it is now possible to genetically modify the virus so that it is non-infectious. With this added protection, it is now possible to allow vaccine development within the U.S., rather than relying upon overseas sources.
FMD is a highly contagious viral foreign animal disease that affects domestic livestock – including cattle, swine, sheep, goats, and domestic cervids – with reduced milk and meat productivity, illness, and death.