Participants in the recent Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC) summer meeting in Kansas City had a “sneak peek” at Bovilis, a new vaccine from Merck Animal Health, to combat the effects of bovine corona virus (BCoV).

The new modified-live intra-nasal vaccine is scheduled for launch in October, labeled for use against enteric disease. Upon release, the vaccine will be available for use in calves as young as three days of age. Kevin Hill, DVM, with Merck technical services, provided conference participants with background on BCoV and research trials for the new vaccine.

BCoV is well recognized as a major cause of calf scours and winter dysentery in adult cows. Recently, research and improvements in diagnostic testing increasingly indicate BCoV also plays a role as a primary viral agent in a significant percentage of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) cases.  

In efficacy testing for USDA approval, researchers challenged groups of colostrum-deprived calves with bovine corona virus at around 30 days of age. Those that received the Bovilis vaccine at 3 days of age experienced significantly lower incidence of diarrhea or other enteric disease compared with non-vaccinated calves.

In efficacy trials, data also indicated the vaccine produced a numeric reduction in clinical signs of BRD among BCoV-challenged calves compared with controls, but more testing will be required to add a respiratory-disease claim to the vaccine’s label. Upon release in October, the vaccine’s label will say it aids in the reduction of enteric disease caused by BCoV.

Field safety testing, also required for approval by the USDA, show no adverse health effects in vaccinated cattle relative to those receiving a placebo.

Several additional trials with various classes of cattle under a range of environmental conditions currently are underway. Watch for more information once the product launches in October.