On September 21, 2015, an Ames, Iowa vaccine producer, Harrisvaccines, announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted a conditional license to the producer’s Avian Influenza vaccine. This vaccine is the first Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) vaccine to receive a conditional license since the outbreak began last spring.
The vaccine utilizes SirraVax technology, which will allow for rapid updates to current and future strains of HPAI. This technology is a critical step for the implementation of any vaccine strategy. It is important to note that the USDA must first grant its authorization before the vaccine can be distributed to producers. The USDA is currently seeking to create a stockpile of vaccines in the event of an outbreak this fall.
Although many producers will welcome a vaccine if offered, there are concerns by broiler producers about the impacts on export markets if a vaccine is used. However, the CEO of Harrisvaccines, Frank Harris, believes the vaccine will be an essential tool for eradication efforts that may alleviate the concerns of foreign trading partners.
A conditional license is usually granted in the event of an emergency or to address an unmet need. Such a product must show a reasonable expectation of efficacy, safety, and potency. Further testing is ongoing. Harrisvaccines has received USDA licensure in the past for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Vaccine, RNA (June 2014), Swine Influenza Vaccine, RNA (September 2012), and Autogenous Vaccine, RNA for Rotavirus C (January 2013).