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New Porcine Vaccine Research Programme

BPEX Limited has announced the launch of a £1.5m (€1.9m) PCV2 vaccine research programme on April 1, 2008.

The scheme will provide vouchers for PCV2 vaccines and is open to all pig levy-payers in England. Farms that produce only weaner pigs will be eligible to make joint applications with a unit to which they supply pigs for finishing.

The project is open to producers already using a Circovirus vaccine as well as to new users. Vouchers will be supplied monthly and will only be valid for one month. The first voucher will be valid until the end of May for vaccine purchased in April 2008.

The value of the voucher will be £2.20 (€2.79) per dose of sow vaccine and 40p (€0.50) per dose of piglet vaccine. Vouchers will be sent to producers following approval of their application. They must then be returned with the veterinary receipt for that month's PCV2 vaccine. The receipt must clearly state the veterinary surgeon, veterinary practice, month, vaccine used, number of doses supplied and the unit involved.

The objective of the research project is to measure the effects of PCV2 vaccination of sows or piglets on herd health, welfare, mortality and physical performance by unit, region and on a national scale. BPEX, veterinary practices and the pharmaceutical companies involved will then be able to offer clear scientifically-based advice on the cost benefits of using Circovirus vaccines.

Performance
This is a research project and, in return for providing vouchers, BPEX will require information from producers on pre- and post-vaccination performance. Summary details of the previous month's breeding and feeding herd key performance indicators will have to be supplied with the application for each voucher. The pre-vaccination performance details will be collected by questionnaire at a later date.

This BPEX project will work closely with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) BBSRC-funded project on wasting diseases of pigs. The BPEX project will require collection of blood samples at either the first quarterly veterinary visit after registration on the project or by arrangement with veterinarians from the RVC if the quarterly visit has just taken place. The blood samples will be analysed free of charge for evidence of exposure to a range of health challenges and results will be returned rapidly to producers.

The application form for the project is being posted to all assured farms. Further copies can be downloaded from the BPEX website, www.bpex.org.uk.

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