Avian Influenza: should we worry?


Since the first declared case of the new mutating avian flu virus HPAI H5N8 in Hungary late October 2016, many European countries have reported new cases in turkeys, ducks or chickens. These countries include Poland, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Romania, Switzerland and France.
Tens of thousands of production birds have already been destroyed.

The dioxin-laden eggs episode in Belgium and Germany in 2011 seemed to create more worries for our AI industry and have a greater impact on it.
However, the latest bird-flu virus is no less important.

Today, it is estimated that over 40 million semen doses are exported. Even though no legislator has acted yet to restricting the import of semen doses from bird-flu infected countries, it is conceivable that this could happen one day. While each country has a sovereign right to establish its own rules, the O.I.E could very well legislate for the world community one day.

Why take such a risk when alternatives are available?

If you currently purchase and prepare egg-yolks from raw eggs, liquid egg-yolk or egg-yolk powder, you should renew your certificates proving that the product used is treated against Newcastle disease or bird flu.

Societal responsibility
With globalization, reliable sources of eggs have decreased.
IMV has been a proactive advocate of non-animal protein bovine semen extender since 1994. First with Biociphos, then with Bioxcell and now with Optixcell, the first protein-free semen extender.

Substitution with non-egg yolk extenders is best described by El-Sasy and et al. in a paper published in November 2016.

“Egg yolk is the most widely used cryoprotectant in the composition of cryopreservation extenders of mammalian spermatozoa; yet, efforts have been made to find ways to substitute it due to the possibility of transporting pathogenic microorganisms, production of harmful metabolites and toxins, the lack of standardization, and the presence of steroid hormones and substances that inhibit metabolic exchanges or decrease the motility of sperm, all resulting in reduced semen quality. In addition, the bio-security in various countries for semen transport is extremely essential to avoid the hazard of transporting avian influenza through egg-based products”

Further Readings:
Science direct article
Theriogenology: 50:699-706, 1998
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Jun;1046:181-92.
Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1999 Aug;115(2):220-7
PDF doc D6470
PDF doc D12376

Many AI centers have already taken this risk into consideration and switched worldwide to synthetic products. Many tens of millions of inseminations have already been performed using OptiXcell.
Should you require more information about OptiXcell, please read the attached information or call your account executive.