WASHINGTON – A petition requesting approval for production of a vaccine to protect livestock in the United States from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has been submitted to the Federal Register for public comment. The vaccine was developed by a pharmaceutical supplier and the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. The planned investment of an initial $27.1 million by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) was lauded by Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

“When we wrote the 2018 Farm Bill, we listened to stakeholders from start to finish,” Roberts said. “Our livestock producers put a priority on this important investment to bolster our animal disease infrastructure, and I’m pleased to see this vaccine bank coming to fruition.”

The vaccine was developed as part of the 2018 Farm Bill’s National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB), which permits the USDA to establish a US-only bank of vaccines and other products to be used in the event of an animal disease outbreak, such as FMD.

“The risk the world faces from disease transmission is more acute today than ever. Safeguarding American agriculture from the impacts of devastating zoonotic and animal diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, is an investment well made,” Roberts said. “The establishment of this vaccine bank will allow the US to more quickly ensure continuity of business should this devastating disease ever impact US livestock producers.”

APHIS is seeking comments from the public as part of the petition review process, focusing on two topics: the vaccine manufacturer’s interpretation of live virus and whether there is support for manufacturing the vaccine in the United States. Public comments will be accepted online at: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2020-15031 through Sept. 14, 2020.

The 2018 Farm Bill also established the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP), designed to protect and prepare the United States for animal disease outbreaks and ensure an effective response is available.

“For our highest consequence animal diseases, it is important to have an effective insurance policy in the extremely rare chance of an outbreak,” according to the USDA.