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MSD Animal Health promotes LetiFend to protect against rising number of leishmaniasis cases

MSD Animal Health is putting additional resources behind its LetiFend vaccine in response to the rising number of leishmaniasis cases

29 October 2019, at 12:00pm

LetiFend helps reduce the risk of developing active infection and/or clinical disease after exposure to L infantum from 28 days post vaccination. It offers protection for 365 days after a single annual dose which helps improve compliance. It has excellent tolerability shown in a wide range of breeds and ages, and in field trials in areas at high risk of infection had an efficacy rate of 72 percent.

Caroline Darouj, Product Manager at MSD Animal Health comments: “Whilst accurate statistics on the number of cases seen in UK practices are not available, the VMD has reported an annual increase in the number of leishmaniasis treatments imported since records started in 2006. Based on applications for Special Import Certificates for Milteforan and Glucantime, there were 27 times as many cases treated in 2018 (439) compared to 2006 (16). Leishmaniasis is proving to be a significant threat to travelling dogs, a situation that has been widely reported in the vet press, so LetiFend will offer veterinary practices and dog owners throughout the UK reassurance. A single dose primary course given four weeks before travel makes it ideal for non-regular travelers.”

LetiFend is a DIVA (differentiating infected from vaccinated animals) vaccine obtained through recombinant DNA technology with Protein Q as the active substance, a protein obtained by a combination of five highly antigenic fragments, cloned and expressed in a non-pathogenic E Coli. The fragments are obtained from the four proteins most commonly recognised in the sera of infected dogs. It is a non-adjuvanted vaccine which ensures a targeted immune response with a high level of safety. A dog vaccinated with LetiFend is at 9.8 times less risk of presenting clinical signs, at 3.5 times less risk of presenting parasites, and thus at 5 times less risk of developing clinical leishmaniasis. It can be applied from six months of age via subcutaneous administration.