Today marks a breakthrough for horse owners and the equine industry with the world’s first Hendra virus horse vaccine, Equivac® HeV, now approved for annual boosters following administration of the first three doses.
Previously, horses were required to have six-monthly boosters to maintain immunity against the deadly virus. Now, horse owners can halve the number of boosters required after a single six-month booster is administered, making Hendra vaccination much more affordable.
“When vaccinated horses were challenged with a potent strain of Hendra virus 12- months after receiving a six-month booster, these horses were protected from infection,” said Dr. Deborah Middleton, lead researcher at the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL). The work at CSIRO was supported by extensive field studies in which antibody levels were measured in horses vaccinated at intervals of 12 months.
“We are confident in the safety and efficacy of 12-month immunity for Equivac HeV and pleased this work has resulted in a positive outcome for horse owners and the equine industry”, she added.
Lance Williams, General Manager for Zoetis in Australia and New Zealand added:
“This highly anticipated announcement would not have been possible without the ongoing support from the CSIRO and our industry partners, as well as those involved in the initial development of this important vaccine.
“Zoetis is extremely proud to be part of the solution to reduce the risk of the deadly Hendra virus,” he said.
The Hendra virus can be fatal to both horses and humans. Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses. By vaccinating horses, owners are also protecting themselves, their families and anyone who comes into contact with horses.
Horse owners are reminded to speak with their vet to ensure their horses are vaccinated and compliant with required boosters.
For more information on 12-month immunity for Equivac HeV or how to vaccinate your horse against infectious diseases, visit www.health4horses.com.au