While the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) came to a halt this summer, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is preparing for the potential recurrence in the fall. To date, the virus has affected more than 48 million birds at over 200 poultry facilities earlier this year.
As part of these preparations, APHIS and its state and industry partners are examining the potential use of vaccine to help prevent illness in birds stop the spread of the disease. This week, APHIS announced two actions related to vaccine use: the issuance of a request for proposals for vaccine doses to equip the National Veterinary Stockpile, and notification that APHIS will publish an environmental assessment evaluating the potential environmental impacts of using vaccine in the event of an HPAI outbreak.
APHIS has not approved a HPAI vaccine for use, however the agency is preparing to ensure that a vaccine is available should the decision be made to use it. APHIS is seeking to create a stockpile of vaccine for the Eurasian H5 (EA H5) virus strain that circulated in domestic poultry earlier this year. APHIS has issued a request for proposals for vaccine manufacturers with the interest and capability to supply a variety of EA H5 vaccines.
The RFP is available here.
In the coming weeks, APHIS will also publish an environmental assessment that examines the impacts of using HPAI vaccine in the field during an outbreak response. This assessment will look at two alternatives: approving vaccine use targeting EA H5 viruses or taking no action. Once published, the EA will have a 30-day public comment period.