Worried about Strangles in Your Horse? New Vaccine May Be Answer to Strep-throat-like Disease in Horses

Horse with nasal discharge: Is it strangles?
Horse with nasal discharge: Is it strangles? AHT Org. UK

The manufacturer of Strangvac, a new protein-based vaccine intended to protect horses from strangles, has announced that it has a signed contract for manufacturing the vaccine. Strangles, caused by Streptococcus equi bacteria, leads to large pus-filled abscesses in horses’ throat and neck.

New vaccine to protect horse health.

New vaccine to protect horse health

Strangles, one of the most common equine infectious diseases, is found throughout the United States and Europe.
© 2018 by Fabio Berti

“This is an important milestone in the process to complete the registration of Strangvac…especially considering that there is a huge need for a safe and efficacious vaccine against equine strangles as evidenced by all current reported outbreaks around the world,” said Jan-Ingmar Flock, CEO of Intervacc, the company that produced the vaccine, in a press release.

The manufacturing contract with 3P Biopharmaceuticals in Barcelona, Spain, includes transfer of the manufacturing technology, production of validation batches, and long-term commercial manufacturing once the vaccine is approved.

About strangles in equines

One of the most common equine infectious diseases, strangles is found throughout the United States and Europe. An estimated 600 outbreaks each year are reported in the United Kingdom alone.

Caused by Streptococcus equi, strangles is characterized most often by purulent nasal discharge and swelling of the lymph nodes of the head and neck. These lymph nodes may rupture and drain pus. Infected horses also may develop other signs such as fever and breathing and eating difficulties.

Clinical study of equine strangles vaccine

An international team of scientists from Animal Health Trust, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Karolinska Institute, and Intervacc AB has been working since 2003 to develop a vaccine that is protective, safe, and enables differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals. New research outlines 3 studies conducted by the team in which ponies were vaccinated with combinations of recombinant fusion proteins.

According to the study’s authors, the 2 currently available strangles vaccines—Pinnacle IN in the United States and New Zealand, and Equilis StrepE in the European Union—both confer protection but must be given via the intranasal and submucosal routes, respectively, to minimize the risk of complications. However, the scientists believe that development of a vaccine that can be administered via the intramuscular route and protects against infection without interfering with diagnostic tests remains an important unmet goal.

Through their work, it was concluded that optimal protection was conferred by a prototype multicomponent subunit vaccine, Strangvac 4. Across the 3 experiments, only three of 16 ponies vaccinated with Strangvac 4 became pyretic compared with all 16 placebo-vaccinated control ponies.

“Strangvac 4 was immunogenic, conferred excellent levels of protection against strangles and is worthy of further development and clinical investigation,” the investigators concluded.

“We are delighted to have shown that our Strangvac vaccine protected over 80% of horses from this dreadful disease,” said Flock. “Strangles is a scourge of the equine world and the development of Strangvac has the potential to prevent many thousands of horses from falling ill each year.”

According to Andrew Waller, PhD, head of bacteriology at Animal Health Trust, Strangvac 4 is expected to be available for use in 2020. “Improving the health of horses is a core aim of the Animal Health Trust and we are proud to have helped make this vaccine a reality towards finally breaking the hold this disease currently has on our horses.”

2020 Update on status of Strangvac vaccine:

“We are delighted to have shown that our Strangvac vaccine protected over 80 % of horses from this dreadful disease,” said Prof. Jan-Ingmar Flock, CEO of Intervacc AB, the company that produced the vaccine.

“Strangles is a scourge of the equine world and the development of Strangvac has the potential to prevent many thousands of horses from falling ill each year.” Harnessing the power of the genome-era “Strangvac is an extremely exciting vaccine” explains Dr. Andrew Waller, Head of Bacteriology at the AHT.

“The vaccine was designed using information from sequencing the DNA of Streptococcus equi and highlights the potential that the genome-era heralds for improving the health of animals and people. Improving the health of horses is a core aim of the Animal Health Trust and we are proud to have helped make this vaccine a reality towards finally breaking the hold this disease currently has on our horses.”

“Transfer of the manufacturing process and production of commercial batches are underway towards the registration and launch of Strangvac,” continued Prof. Flock, “and we anticipate that Strangvac will be available for use during 2020.” The work “Strangvac: a recombinant fusion protein vaccine that protects against strangles, caused by Streptococcus equi” is published in the journal Vaccine and can be viewed here

3P Biopharmaceuticals, a leading CDMO specialized in the process development and GMP manufacturing of biologics has, together with the Swedish biotechnology company Intervacc AB and LIOF-Pharma (previously Praxis Pharmaceutical), completed the manufacturing process for the vaccine against equine strangles called Strangvac®.


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This news article is a press release received by the organization or person noted above. Press releases from recognized horse health companies and individuals are frequently posted on EquiMed as a service to our visitors. Please contact the author of the press release directly for additional information.

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