Merck Animal Health Presents New Data on First Vaccine to Reduce C. Parvum Infection at the European Buiatrics Congress and ECBHM Jubilee Symposium 2023

Gp40 antigen vaccine elicits immune response against Cryptosporidium parvum in pregnant cows to protect their newborn calves through antibodies in colostrum

Combined data represent first efficacious C. parvum maternal vaccine worldwide for any species

RAHWAY, N.J., August 24, 2023 – Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside of the United States and Canada, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA (NYSE:MRK), announced today nine new abstracts being presented at The European Buiatrics Congress and ECBHM Jubilee Symposium 2023 (EBC 2023), including two sets of pivotal field study data evaluating the efficacy of an experimental vaccine to provide protection against Cryptosporidium parvum (C. parvum) in newborn calves.

Cryptosporidium parvum is a highly infectious zoonotic parasite that is associated with neonatal calf diarrhea, the leading cause of calf morbidity and mortality. There is a critical need to treat and prevent this harmful infection,” said Geert Vertenten, Ph.D., DVM, global technical director of ruminant biologicals at Merck Animal Health. “The data we will present at the European Buiatrics Congress 2023 strongly support the advancement of a gp40-based vaccine to obstruct the development of C. parvum in newborn calves.”

The first set of data being presented at EBC 2023 evaluated an experimental Cryptosporidium vaccine for protection against C. parvum infection in neonatal calves by passive immunization. In the study, healthy pregnant heifers were given the experimental Cryptosporidium vaccine and Bovilis® Rotavec® Corona during the third trimester of pregnancy. After the calves were born, researchers collected colostrum from the vaccinated heifers, then randomly assigned viable newborn calves to receive the colostrum within four hours of birth before being exposed to C. parvum oocysts up to four hours later. The results showed that newborn calves fed with colostrum from Cryptosporidium-vaccinated heifers had a significantly lower chance of having diarrhea, as measured by health and diarrhea scores.

Merck Animal Health will also share a second set of analyses that investigated the antibody response of the same Cryptosporidium vaccine in cattle in relation to C. parvum parasitic infection stages and an in vitro infection model. The results showed that high level anti-gp40 in vitro neutralizing antibodies were significantly increased in animals that were given the Cryptosporidium vaccine compared to the non-vaccinated control group. These data further validate that gp40 is an important protein expressed on the exterior of different C. parvum infection stages.

“At Merck Animal Health, we are taking the lead in protecting cattle against the most common and harmful pathogens, as well as offering solutions that guide herd management decisions to help improve animal welfare and operational efficiency. That responsibility begins with equipping those in bovine herd health management with the tools they need to keep animals healthy and minimize the need for treatment,” said Philippe Houffschmitt, DVM, MBA, associate vice president of the global ruminant business at Merck Animal Health. “We are excited to share our latest research in C. parvum prevention, which we hope adds to the growing body of scientific evidence that is enhancing the comfort and care of livestock and helping bovine production medicine specialists make better decisions about health interventions for animals.”

Full data from both C. parvum studies will be published in the journal Vaccine or Veterinary Vaccine following the congress.

A full list of Merck Animal Health presentations at EBC 2023 include:

Oral presentations

Thursday, August 24:

  • Serologic predictors for pneumonia in male dairy veal calves

Friday, August 25:

  • Main bovine respiratory infectious agents identified on stethoscopes and boots from 12 rural veterinary clinics
  • Effect of on-arrival BRD vaccination on ultrasound confirmed pneumonia and production parameters in male dairy calves: a randomized clinical trial
  • Motivation of dairy farmers to engage in primary prevention: current situation, drivers and perceived constraints

Saturday, August 26:

  • The effect of communication training on veterinarians’ communication and motivational interviewing skills assessed by herd health recordings

Poster presentations

  • Are Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV) vaccine strains still aligned with circulating BRSV strains?
  • Intranasal vaccination of calves at day of birth with a live attenuated vaccine against BRSV and PI3 and a live attenuated vaccine against respiratory coronavirus
  • Can serology help to identify the risk of Mannheimia haemolytica outbreaks in adult dairy cows?
  • Prevalence of bovine coronavirus on farms with respiratory disease in Northwestern Germany
  • Prevalence, biosecurity and risk management of bovine coronavirus infections on dairy farms in Europe
  • The effect of colostrum supplementation during the first 5 days of life on calf morbidity, enteric pathogens, weight gain and immunological response
  • Mannheimia haemolytica vaccination of breeding goats to enhance the transfer of passive immunity against pneumonic pasteurellosis
  • The first efficacious Cryptosporidium vaccine protecting new-born calves
  • Bovine anti-gp40 antibodies neutralize Cryptosporidium infections in-vitro and are reactive with different Cryptosporidium stadia
  • Postpartum excretion of internal teat sealant after selective dry cow therapy

Merck Animal Health is one of the world’s largest producers of vaccines for animals, safeguarding animal health and welfare to further prevent the spread of disease. To learn more, please visit

About Merck Animal Health

At Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than a century, we’ve been at the forefront of research, bringing forward medicines, vaccines and innovative health solutions for the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA, is the global animal health business of Merck. Through its commitment to The Science of Healthier Animals®, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services as well as an extensive suite of connected technology that includes identification, traceability and monitoring products. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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