HeV Vaccination Study

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Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and TBQA are addressing the issue of horses vaccinated against Hendra Virus being barred from export to emerging Asian markets.

This restriction is having a serious impact on the industry, for example one third of the Magic Millions catalogue in May was ineligible for export due to the Hendra Virus vaccination. (HeV)

Dr Kim Halpin at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) is currently working on a study to help this problem, however she urgently requires more samples so that the test protocol has been validated properly from a statistical point of view.

Dr Halpin requires serum samples from horses that have been vaccinated as per the recommended schedule, so will have a protective level of antibodies.

If you have horses that are fully vaccinated, they would be eligible to participate in this study. Your participation is vital for the future of the industry, as the export market contributes millions of dollars each year.

Please read the letter below from Dr Halpin, what she requires and how you can contact her to participate.

Request for Equivac HeV vaccinated horse serum

In November 2012, the Equivac HeV vaccine was released for national use. Antibodies elicited by vaccination are detectable in a number of serological tests (Virus Neutralisation (VNT), recombinant soluble G ELISA and Luminex tests). These tests, however, do not distinguish between antibodies produced after vaccination and those resulting from infection with Hendra virus.

Importing countries have applied various restrictions on horses from Australia, based on HeV exposure or vaccination. Some markets have not permitted the importation of horses vaccinated with Equivac HeV vaccine on the basis of an antibody positive serological test and vaccination certification.

AAHL’s project plan is to validate a DIVA test for its use on samples from horses undertaking international movement. The DIVA test differentiates between vaccinated and naturally infected horses. Performance characteristics will be established for the DIVA test, using 1000 sera from unvaccinated horses and 1000 sera from Equivac HeV vaccinated horses.
AAHL is seeking serum samples collected from Equivac HeV vaccinated horses.

When samples are collected, the following information should also be collected:
• Age, breed and sex of horse
• Date of sample collection
• Vaccination history, including dates of all HeV vaccinations
• Microchip number

All questions can be directed to Kim.Halpin@csiro.au.