On August 27, Zoetis obtained a full license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sell Poulvac® Bron GA 08, the first commercially available vaccine to help reduce disease caused by Georgia 2008 (GA 08) Type infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) in poultry.

Poulvac® Bron GA 08, a live vaccine, is licensed for vaccination of healthy chickens at one day of age or older as an aid in the reduction of disease caused by GA 08. The vaccine was licensed based on clinical data showing that the vaccine meets USDA’s standards for safety and efficacy. The full license follows USDA’s provision of a conditional license last fall, which authorized the vaccine’s sale in states affected by GA 08.

According to Kalen Cookson, Director of Clinical Research at Zoetis, close collaboration with the USDA, the University of Georgia and poultry producers from affected states helped bring the vaccine to market on an ambitious timeline.

“In April 2013, representatives of major U.S. poultry companies invited Zoetis to join a task force at the University of Georgia to discuss ideas for tackling GA 08, particularly the development of a vaccine,” said Cookson. “Thanks to the continued support of industry, the USDA and the university, which provided the viral isolate on which the vaccine is based, we are pleased to offer our customers a fully licensed vaccine for GA 08 before winter, when disease challenge is highest.”

‘Top priority’

First identified in Georgia in December 2007, GA 08 has since been isolated on farms in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.  Over the past three winters, its incidence and severity have increased dramatically, along with associated costs.

Unlike other IBV strains, which typically affect the upper respiratory tract, GA 08 primarily affects the lower tract, particularly the air sacs.

According to Holly Sellers, PhD, professor at the University of Georgia’s Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, GA 08 rarely makes its presence known on the farm, but becomes a real issue at the processing plant due to higher incidence of airsacculitis. This results in increased condemnations, reduced plant efficiency and ultimately economic loss for producers. 

“Each winter for the past three years, the number of states and companies affected by GA 08 has increased dramatically,” commented Sellers. “Outbreaks have taken a major economic toll on producers and processors in the Southeast, so making a vaccine available has been a top priority. Based on UGA’s initial research, which included isolation and characterization of the virus, Zoetis has developed a new vaccine that has performed well in areas hard hit by this costly virus, against which other IBV vaccines offer little protection. We are grateful for the support that Zoetis and the poultry industry have provided in this productive collaboration, and are confident that it will have a positive impact on producers in Georgia and in other affected states.”

For more information about the vaccine, visit https://www.zoetisus.com/species/poultry_new.aspx