INTA developed the world’s first vaccine against Bovine Leukosis virus

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 | 9:45 a.m.

The National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), in conjunction with the University of Liege (Belgium), developed the world’s first vaccine to combat and eradicate Bovine Leukosis, a virus that affects more than 80% of dairy farms in Argentina and that produces a 10% mortality of the affected animals, in addition to a reduction in the reproductive capacity of the herd.

The biotechnological development, which strengthens Argentina in the global scientific vanguard, was the product of more than a decade of research between the two institutions -with an agreement for co-ownership of patents and future developments in equal parts- and will be presented this Tuesday by the secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Juan José Bahillo, together with the president of INTA, Mariano Garmendia, and the head of Senasa, Diana Guillen

The act will be held at 1:00 p.m. in the Microcine of the Ministry of Agriculture and will be to announce the commercial authorization of the vaccine, which has already been made official through Provision 1/2022 of the Ministry of Economy in the Official Gazette.

The biotechnological event constitutes a great step towards a prevention system against bovine leukosis, which currently affects more than 80% of dairy farms in Argentina, as well as in other countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, Europe Oriental and Asian.

According to a study carried out by INTA in 2014, the economic impact on the dairy production system caused by the disease includes a 10% mortality of infected animals, causing a loss of profits of around 5,300 dollars per affected dead cow.

Almost 100% of the dairy farms in Argentina have a high level of contagion, 80% or more, and until now, there was no commercial vaccine available for the prevention of this disease. There is also no possible treatment.

Once infected, cattle remain carriers of the virus for life and begin to show a serological reaction within weeks of infection.

BLV infection is widely disseminated throughout the world and is classified by the World Organization for Animal Health as a disease of importance to international trade.

As reported by INTA, the product targets a global market for the production, control and prevention of bovine leukosis, through the offer of a new recombinant vaccine for the control of the disease in dairy farms around the world.

The system -explained the Institute on its website- makes it possible to differentiate vaccinated from infected, thanks to the fact that the vaccine is an attenuated strain and is not exactly the same as the wild strain (developed by the same academic team) and provokes a strong response anti-BLV immunity comparable to the immune response against the wild type virus.

“The vaccine strain does not spread to uninfected sentinels kept for prolonged periods in the same herd (that is, satisfactory biosecurity of the vaccine),” said the agricultural agency, which detailed that the antibodies are transmitted to newborn calves. calves are born through maternal colostrum, so passive antiviral immunity persists for several months in calves, whereas the attenuated viral strain in the vaccine is not transmitted from cows to calves.

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