man in medical gown takes samples of biological material in cows
man in medical gown takes samples of biological material in cows. Photo: By Jenoche / Shutterstock

Press Release Provided by the US Cattlemen’s Association

On January 5th 2021, the United States Cattlemen’s Association submitted comments on the Petition to Manufacture Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine in the United States.

On July 14, 2020, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published in the Federal Register a notice and request for information  on a petition submitted by Zoetis, Inc., a U.S. vaccine manufacturer, seeking approval to manufacture within the continental United States a vaccine produced using a leaderless strain of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus. A leaderless virus lacks part of the genetic code (the leader) critical for determining virulence in a host.

Stakeholders noted that the notice and petition did not provide enough data to support a determination that the leaderless virus is not a live virus and that it poses no risk of causing FMD infection in animals. To address those concerns, USDA APHIS issued a Risk Assessment Summary of the FMD-LL3B3D A24 Cruzeiro Vaccine, supporting the safety of the leaderless FMD virus and its use in manufacturing FMD vaccine and reopened the comment period.

USCA Animal Health and ID Chairman Dwight Keller issued the following statement:

“If our nation’s leaders are going to continue to ignore the risks associated with maintaining trade relationships with countries at known risk of FMD – such as Namibia and Argentina – then, it is imperative that we provide a pathway for the advancement of U.S. vaccine technologies. USCA recognizes the enormity of this decision and the devastating, lasting effects a FMD outbreak would have on the livestock industry within the mainland U.S. and around the globe.

“However, we cannot be reliant on foreign entities for the development and manufacture of a safe, abundant vaccine supply. Instead, we support providing the opportunity for American ingenuity in producing and maintaining a vaccine supply capable of protecting the health of the domestic cattle herd in the event of a FMD outbreak.”