UBI Press Release
Release Date: December 9, 2002
Contact: Ms. Francine Volz
Tel: (631) 273-2828
Fax: (631) 273-1717
Web Page: www.unitedbiomedical.com
Success at Long Last: Development of a Safe Synthetic Vaccine for Foot-and Mouth Disease by United Biomedical, Inc.
Scientists have been trying to develop a safe synthetic vaccine for Foot-and-Mouth
disease for more than 20 years. Foot-and-Mouth Disease is an extremely infectious
disease of cattle, sheep, and swine. Outbreaks have caused recent devastating losses
in the U.K., Taiwan, and Argentina. The virus remains a constant threat throughout
much of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America and the market for vaccines
exceeds US$500 million. North America and other FMD-free regions fear both
accidental introduction and intentional introduction through bioterrorism
(www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jtml?type=topNews&storyID=1777664 ). Current vaccines
are produced from killed viruses and present biohazard risks both in manufacture and
use. Most attempts to produce a safer vaccine have focused on reproducing by
chemical synthesis a small subunit of the virus that is responsible for evoking antibodies
that inactivate the virus. However, up until now these efforts have resulted in synthetic
vaccines that either were not protective in livestock, or that required doses too large to
be economically feasible.
United Biomedical, Inc. (UBI) of Hauppauge NY, along with its subsidiary UBI Asia, has
been working on this problem since 1997 with an in-house team headed by Dr. Chang Yi
Wang, and international collaborators at the USDA Plum Island Animal Disease Center,
the Animal Technology Institute Taiwan, the National Institute of Animal Health Taiwan,
and commercial animal health companies. UBI has successfully developed a synthetic
Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine for swine using its unique UBITh. synthetic peptide
technology. The synthetic vaccine has been designed to confront a broad array of
pandemic FMD viruses from serotype O and can be readily re-designed for potency
against the other six serotypes of FMD virus. The UBI vaccine for FMD virus has
protected over 200 swine from experimental infection during laboratory vaccine trials.
UBI has recently reported on one of these studies in the journalVaccine. In this.publication, "Effective synthetic peptide vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease in swine" by
CY Wang, TY Chang, AM Walfield,et al. (Vaccine, 2002; 20: 2603-2610) 20 out of 21
peptide-immunized pigs were protected from infection. The vaccine was effective at
small doses in formulations that can be readily manufactured at low cost, comparable to
those of the killed virus vaccines. Field and regional trials have recently been completed
for the UBI FMD vaccine as part of the procedure to receive official registrations by
national regulatory agencies. The company is now perfecting other formulations of its
synthetic vaccine for potency and efficacy in cattle.
UBI expects that its synthetic FMD vaccine will encourage wider use of vaccination for
control of FMD due to the vaccine’s advantages: 1) as a completely safe chemically
defined product and, 2) as a marker vaccine whose immunogenic footprint can be
readily distinguished from the immune responses that result from FMD virus infection.
The company also produces a series of synthetic-peptide based diagnostic tests for
FMD that work particularly well as a system together with its vaccines. The UBI
diagnostic kits detect infected animals and distinguish them from vaccinated animals.
An unprecedented relaxation of the guidelines that restrict the export of vaccinated
animals was issued by the Office International des Epizooties earlier this year, in
response to the new technical developments in FMD control. The new rules are
expected to result in more widespread use of FMD vaccines and diagnostics. The UBI
peptide-based vaccine/diagnostic system will be particularly attractive to FMD-free
countries for defensive serosurveillance and for contingency plans for emergency
vaccination in the event of an outbreak.