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Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus type 2: vaccines

Update 22 July: Availability of vaccines for rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus type 2 (RHDV2).

The VMD is aware of the concern about rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus type 2 (RHDV2) affecting rabbits in the UK.

There are no veterinary medicines currently authorised against RHDV2 in the UK.

On 15 July the European Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) published its positive opinion for a marketing authorisation application for ERAVAC, from Laboratorios Hipra, S.A. The vaccine is for the active immunisation of fattening rabbits to reduce mortality against the new Type 2 variant of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV2). This decision now needs to be endorsed by the European Commission before it can be made legally available in all EU countries. More information about ERAVAC will be published on the Agency’s website when available.

The vaccines currently authorised in the UK are against classical RHD virus strains (RHDV/RHDVa). It is not yet fully understood whether they provide protection against RHDV2 although some published data suggest that classical RHDV vaccines are not fully protective against the new variant.

In the absence of a medicine to treat RHDV2, vets can either:

  • prescribe another medicine in accordance with the prescribing cascade, or
  • import a vaccine under the VMD’s Special Import Scheme (SIS)

Importing a vaccine

There are vaccines against RHDV2 authorised in other EU countries which are being imported by UK vets under the SIS. They include Filavac VHD K C+V, Novarvilap and Cunipravac RHD Variant.

No information is available on the safety and efficacy of these vaccines for pet rabbit breeds including when they are used at the same time as other vaccines (e.g classical RHDV vaccines).

For more information about the VMD’s SIS.

Vets should use their clinical judgement in individual cases to decide the most suitable vaccination protocol. The vet should contact the vaccine manufacturer directly for further information.