PARIS (Reuters) – France reaffirmed its aim to launch a vaccination program against bird flu in the autumn after results from a series of trials on inoculating ducklings showed “satisfactory effectiveness”, the agriculture ministry said.
A severe strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, has devastated poultry production worldwide, killing more than 200 million birds in the past 18 months.
France has been the worst affected country in the European Union and has been experiencing a strong resurgence of outbreaks since earlier this month in the southwestern part of the country, mainly among ducks.
It had already launched pre-orders of 80 million vaccines last month, subject to confirmation based on final tests conducted by ANSES, the French health security agency.
“These favorable results provided sufficient guarantees to start the vaccination campaign as early as autumn 2023,” the agriculture ministry wrote on its website.
Governments, which often shy away from using vaccinations due to trade restrictions, are increasingly considering adopting them to contain the spread of the virus and avoid human-to-human transmission.
The results of the trials demonstrated a good control of virus transmission in vaccinated mule ducks, a difference between infected and vaccinated animals, known as the DIVA principle, and a reduction in virus excretion by vaccinated birds, the trial concluded. Said.
France has mandated two companies, France’s Service Animal Health and Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim, to develop bird flu vaccines for ducks.
Several other EU countries are conducting trials including the Netherlands on turkeys and Italy on laying hens.
The first results in the Netherlands showed that the vaccines that were tested were effective.
(Reporting by Sybille de la Hamide; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)
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