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Boehringer Ingelheim Supports French Vaccine Campaign, Continues Development of AI Vaccines


While debate continues as to the need to implement a vaccination component as an adjunct to existing measures to control avian influenza, Boehringer Ingelheim along with other major animal vaccine manufacturers have continued efforts to develop vaccine technology available should it be authorized by USDA.


EGG-NEWS has consistently advocated tactical application of an effective vaccine against H5N1, the predominant serotype responsible for an ongoing panornitic extending over five continents for the past three years.  Taking into account the potential for embargos on the export of U.S. broiler leg quarters, a decision to introduce a vaccination program would require adherence to WOAH policies on vaccination and trade and an acceptance by USDA of the practical and financial benefits of vaccination. This modality would be introduced in areas with a high probability of repeat infections and for specific classes of poultry including egg production flocks and growing turkeys.


Boehringer Ingelheim was a successful bidder for a contract extended by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) in 2023.  After successive outbreaks of avian influenza in the foie gras industry a decision was made to introduce a program of vaccination. Rapid diagnosis and depletion of flocks of infected waterfowl and even the application of preemptive depopulation was inadequate to control and prevent reoccurring seasonal outbreaks.


Boehringer Ingelheim supplied ANSES with an inactivated H5 subunit vaccine that was effective in stimulating protective antibodies in ducks. The program required intramuscular administration of two doses separated by three to four weeks. This Boehringer Ingelheim vaccine has been used in numerous nations and over a billion doses have been administered over a ten-year period.


Based on comparisons of outbreaks prior to and subsequent to introduction of vaccination, the program in France is regarded as a success. The vaccination program in France commenced on October 1, 2023, with the intent of vaccinating 64 million commercial waterfowl by April 2024. At this time 26 million ducks received the first dose of vaccine and 21 million were administered a second dose. Since the fall of 2023 ten outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI were diagnosed compared to 315 during the same period in 2022, preceding introduction of vaccination.

Valerie Ajzenman, Head of Commercial Operations for Animal Health for the Company in France stated, “choosing our vaccine as a vote of confidence in Boehringer Ingelheim’s scientific expertise and sends a strong signal that by vaccinating we can help combat the avian influenza virus.”


In anticipating what should be regarded as the inevitable introduction of vaccination against H5N1 avian influenza, Boehringer Ingelheim offers a number of alternative vaccines:



•    Volvac AIV-H5+ND vaccine based on the Baculovirus expression system introduced in 2015.

•    Trovac AIV H5 vaccine using a fowl pox vector introduced in 1998.

•    Vaxxitek HVT+IBD+H5 currently licensed for application in the U.S. in anticipation of a change in Federal policy.