Company Reiterates a Commitment to Zero Dog-Mediated Human Rabies Deaths by 2030
RAHWAY, N.J., September 28, 2023 – Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA (NYSE:MRK), announced today it has donated more than 5 million NOBIVAC® rabies vaccines through the Company’s Afya Program, since it was founded. The goal of the global non-profit is to help achieve the World Health Organization’s goal of zero dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030. In partnership with Mission Rabies and Rabies Free Africa, Merck Animal Health is celebrating this milestone as well as a more than 25-year commitment by reinforcing its commitment to eliminate rabies and is calling on individuals, organizations, and governments to join hands in the fight against rabies. Rabies could be eliminated within the next seven years, if governments, charities, industry, vets and pet owners all unite in the fight against this deadly disease.
“We are steadfast in our commitment to rabies elimination and thus improving the health and well-being of both humans and animals. Through Merck Animal Health’s Afya Program, we have witnessed the power of canine vaccination and how essential this is in the global fight against rabies. As we mark World Rabies Day, we celebrate our partnerships with Mission Rabies and Rabies Free Africa and the progress we have achieved together,” said David Sutton, global technical director, Companion Animal Vaccines, Merck Animal Health.
A commitment to zero dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030
Rabies has a 100% fatality rate once symptoms develop and 99% of human cases are transmitted through dog bites, which is why eliminating rabies is crucial to safeguard human lives.i Despite being completely vaccine-preventable, rabies kills an estimated 59,000 people a year, many of whom are children.i
This is why Merck Animal Health is dedicated to supporting the ambitious United Against Rabies global goal of zero dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030. Spearheaded by WHO, the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, the campaign focuses on three key pillars to work towards a world free of rabies: vaccination, awareness, and collaboration. Through a One Health approach, which recognizes that animal health, human health, and sustainability are intertwined, Merck Animal Health prioritizes comprehensive pet vaccination, regular veterinary care, and community-wide awareness are essential to preventing and eliminating rabies.
Collaboration is key to eliminating rabies: we all have a part to play
For more than 25 years, Merck Animal Health has supported efforts aimed at increasing canine vaccination rates across the globe through its Afya Program. The company has supplied Rabies Free Africa and Mission Rabies with over five million doses of life-saving vaccines to date, thanks to the engagement of vets around the world. To help in the fight against rabies, Merck Animal Health invites individuals, organizations, and governments to come together and take action on this World Rabies Day by doing the following:
- Get involved in supporting Rabies Free Africa and Mission Rabies, either through donations or volunteering your time and resources.
- Educate yourself and your communities about the importance of rabies prevention and the critical role of vaccination in controlling the disease.
- Talk to your vet about how you can contribute to the global rabies elimination efforts. Every pet vaccinated locally with NOBIVAC® enables Merck Animal Health to provide further donations to their key partners who are working to prevent rabies in the most at-risk regions around the world. Visit www.afya.org for more information.
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, producers, 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 www.merck-animal-health.com and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Afya Program
The Afya Program comprises a number of rabies control projects supported by Merck Animal Health rabies vaccine donations, including Rabies Free Africa and Mission Rabies. These projects have been brought together under the name “Afya,” which means “health” in Swahili. The Afya Program is committed to supporting the Zero by 30 Initiative, with the goal of eliminating rabies by 2030. For more information, visit www.afya.org.
About Rabies Free Africa
Rabies Free Africa is empowering countries in east Africa to create self-sustaining programs to eliminate current human rabies deaths and set up surveillance systems to identify future outbreaks for containment. To reach the global goal by 2030, the focus needs to be on decreasing the cost of vaccinating dogs and increasing access to vaccines. Rabies Free Africa continues its work to discover ways to decrease the cost of mass-dog vaccinations and refine country and continent-wide programs that make the best use of limited resources. For more information, visit https://vetmed.wsu.edu/departments/paul-g-allen-school-for-global-health/rabies/.
About Mission Rabies
Mission Rabies was initially founded as an initiative by Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS), a United Kingdom-based charity group that assists animals. Mission Rabies has a One Health approach driven by research to eliminate dog bite transmitted rabies (a disease that is estimated to kill 59,000 people annually). Launched in September 2013 with a mission to vaccinate 50,000 dogs against rabies across India, Mission Rabies teams have since then vaccinated over two million dogs and educated more than five million children in dog bite prevention in rabies endemic countries. For more information, visit www.missionrabies.com.
Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA
This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of the global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.
The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022 and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).
[i] The World Health Organization. Rabies Fact Sheet. Accessed June 2, 2023. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/rabies