WASHINGTON — In July 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) sought public comment on a petition from a vaccine manufacturer seeking approval to produce foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine consisting of a modified non-infectious and non-transmissible strain of the virus on the U.S. mainland. Today, December 1st, APHIS is reopening the comment period for this petition for an additional 30 days.
Although introduction of live FMD virus into the United States is prohibited by law, the petition states that this leaderless strain should not be considered live FMD virus as it is non-infectious, non-transmissible, and incapable of causing FMD.
With the reopened comment period, APHIS is providing commenters with additional scientific information supporting our determination that the leaderless virus strain from which Zoetis, Inc. intends to produce FMD vaccine in the United States poses no risk of causing FMD infection in animals. This action gives interested persons the opportunity to review the additional information and submit comments.
Public comments will be accepted through January 21, 2021 here. APHIS will thoroughly review all comments before making its determination.
FMD is a severe and highly contagious viral disease affecting cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, and other animals with divided hooves. It was eradicated from the United States in 1929, but if it were to infect the U.S. livestock industry, it would cause devastating economic effects.