LetiFend, MSD's vaccination against disease caused by exposure to Leishmania infantum parasitesMSD Animal Health has announced that it is putting additional resources behind LetiFend, its vaccination against disease caused by exposure to Leishmania infantum parasites, including a new veterinary practice leaflet and detailer.

MSD's push is being driven by the rising number of cases of Leishmaniasis cases in the UK, including the first report earlier this year of dog-to-dog transmission of the disease

Caroline Darouj, Product Manager at MSD Animal Health said: "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 indicated to reduce the risk of developing active infection and/or clinical disease after exposure to L. infantum from 28 days post  vaccination1,2. It offers protection for 365 days after a single annual dose. The company says 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%4

LetiFend is a non-adjuvanted vaccine which MSD says ensures a targeted immune response with a high level of safety.

MSD says 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 leishmaniasis1. It can be applied from six months of age via subcutaneous administration.  

For further information contact your MSD Animal Health account manager.


*Information from VMD following a Freedom of Information Act request.

  1. Summary of Product Characteristics of Letifend.  European Medicines Agency, 2016.
  2. Committee for medicinal products for veterinary use (CMVP).  European public assessment report (EPAR) for LetiFend. European Medicines Agency, 2016.
  3. Solano-Gallego et al. Diagnostic Challenges in the Era of Canine Leishmania infantum Vaccines.  Trends in Parasitology (2017).  Volume 33, Issue 9, Pages 706-717.
  4. Fernandez Catrina J, Iniesta v, Monroy I, Baz v, Hugnet C, Maranan F. Fabra M, Gomez-Nieto LC, Alonso C.A. large-scale field randomized trial demonstration safety and efficacy of the vaccine LetiFend against canine leishmaniosis.  Vaccine 2018; 36: 1972-19

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