Farmers in the United Kingdom will be the first in the European Union to use a new Schmallenberg vaccine. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) accelerated its assessment of the drug to make it available by summer.
VMD is an executive agency of the UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The agency issued a license to the veterinary pharmaceutical company MSD Animal Health, which will provide the new "Bovilis SBV" vaccine. Sheep and cattle can be vaccinated against the virus before becoming pregnant.
Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is believed to be transmitted by midges. The virus can cause birth defects and stillbirths in cattle, goats and sheep. Reports from farmers show 1,753 farms throughout Great Britain have tested positive for the virus.