A new equine influenza vaccine may be available soon for veterinary use. The Heska Corporation of Fort Collins, Colo., announced it has developed the first modified-live virus, intranasal flu vaccine for horses. Federal approval is expected later this year, according to Heska.
Studies involving more than 450 horses at locations across North America were conducted to verify both the safety and the efficacy of the Flu Avert I.N. vaccine. Scientists and veterinarians from major universities collaborated with Heska's staff during five years of research and development. Their work showed that the new vaccine provided complete protection for three months and significantly reduced clinical signs for up to one year following vaccination. The vaccine produces an immune response in the nasal mucosa of the horse, stopping the disease process at the site of infection.
"The results are particularly impressive given that some conventional injectable flu vaccines have been known to fail within 30 days," said Dr. David Robinson, an equine medical and technical consultation veterinarian for Heska.
Dr. Thomas Chambers, a professor and virologist at the University of Kentucky, described the new vaccine as "a revolutionary advance in how we can deal with equine flu more effectively."