The Hendra vaccine and its efficacy against the variant strain of Hendra virus

13 Oct 2021

Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA) is the equine special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and is the peak professional body for Australia’s horse veterinarians. AVA has over 9,000 members and EVA has 1,100 members across Australia

Almost 10 years ago, an international team of expert veterinary scientists and virologists, including Australia’s peak scientific body, the CSIRO, developed an extremely effective vaccine to immunise horses against the deadly Hendra virus. This vaccine has proven its effectiveness in the field with more than 890,000 doses of the vaccine having been administered to almost 200,000 horses over the last eight years. During that time, no horse that has received the Hendra vaccine, has been diagnosed as being Hendra virus positive.

A variant strain of Hendra virus was recently identified by the Horses as Sentinels research group which included scientists from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, the University of Sydney, CSIRO Health & Biosecurity, and EVA Members Drs Peter Reid and Ed Annand. From their current research, it can be said that:

Expert analysis of the genetic structure of the variant strain of the Hendra virus and neutralisation assays have shown that there is nothing to suggest that the current Hendra virus horse vaccine won't be as equally effective against the Hendra virus variant as against the original Hendra strain.

The Horses as Sentinels group expect that their research paper will soon be published in the prestigious scientific journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the United States Centers for Disease Control based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

If you have any questions, or to respond, please contact the EVA Executive Officer, Jeffrey Wilkinson at email: