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SAO PAULO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH & Co will modify the formula for foot-and-mouth disease vaccines in Brazil after the government recommended milder doses in the wake of a surge in beef shipment suspensions.
Boehringer will work on the new vaccines throughout next year and probably make them available to the public around 2019, executive Pedro Bacco said on Monday. Brazil, home to the world’s largest commercial cattle herd, is the largest producer and user of FMD vaccines.
Local cattle ranchers have partially blamed the vaccines for some of the problems found by U.S. food inspectors in exports of Brazilian beef - leading to a recent suspension of fresh beef shipments. Farmers said a harsh vaccination program might have been a reason behind abscesses found in shipments.
The government heeded calls from ranchers to change the composition of the vaccines, reducing doses to 2 milligrams from 5 milligrams while removing the Virus C component from the vaccine. The Brazilian government is still discussing with U.S. authorities ways to resume beef trade.
Vaccine producers and the government said the product is safe, adding that abscesses linked to the vaccination could have been caused by inappropriate handling of the process, such as use of contaminated needles for vaccinations or broken equipment that hurt animals. (Reporting by Ana Mano; Writing by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Bill Trott)