In October 2023 MSD Animal Health announced that the European Medicines Agency Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products (CVMP) has issued a “positive opinion” for BOVILIS CRYPTIUM. This vaccine is indicated for the “active immunisation of pregnant cows” to protect against Cryptosporidium parvum (C. parvum) infection. Later, in November, FarmingUK reported that MSD Animal Health has also launched a new bovine coronavirus vaccine.  

What is C. parvum?  

C. parvum is a “highly infectious” parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis. MSD Animal Health describes this as “one of the most significant gastrointestinal diseases in cattle”. Associate vice president of the global ruminant business at MSD Animal Health, Philippe Houffschmitt, commented that it is a “relentlessly challenging pathogen for cattle producers”.

“It is highly contagious and fast-spreading, and its contamination can be unavoidable in environments where cattle, goats, and sheep live.” 

Therefore, Mr Houffschmitt is “pleased” that the CVMP “recognises the vaccine’s capability” to support efforts against “such a significant problem”. The vaccine raises antibodies in colostrum against gp40, which can provide protection for calves at birth through vaccination of pregnant heifers and cows. Calves are “most vulnerable” at birth, and the parasite “plays a major role in the development of calf scour”.  

“Calf scour is the most common cause of disease and death in calves during the pre-weaning period.” 

Furthermore, it has longer term effects on weight gain.  

Bovine coronavirus 

Around the same time, the farming world highlighted the launch of a bovine coronavirus (BCoV) vaccine from MSD, offering potential relief to farmers from the plight of bovine respiratory disease (BRD). VetSurgeon suggests that this is “continually highlighted as a critical area for overuse of antibiotics”, emphasising a need for more effective prevention strategies.  

Addressing the British Cattle Veterinary Association in October, Paul Burr of Biobest Laboratories suggested that bovine coronavirus is the “most prevalent virus” identified in routine screening and samples from BRD outbreaks. Associated with both enteric and respiratory diseases in ruminants, BCoV is a cause of neonatal calf diarrhoea. 

Kat Baxter-Smith, MSD Animal Health veterinary advisor, commented that the availability of their latest vaccine offers “another tool” in the “armoury to improve control of this costly disease. FarmingUK states that this could alleviate the “high cost from an emotional and business productivity perspective”.  

Bovilis Nasalgen-C  

Where BCoV is implicated in a BRD problem, the vaccine can be administered to calves as a single 2ml intranasal dose. Immunity develops within 5 days of administration. VetSurgeon states that it can be stored for up to 24 hours at room temperature and is suitable for small and large herds as it is available in one, five, and 20 dose packs. 

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