May 6, 2010 / 5:11 PM / 9 years ago

Pig virus DNA found in Merck rotavirus vaccine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pieces of DNA from two pig viruses were found in Merck & Co Inc’s rotavirus vaccine, but there was no evidence of a safety risk, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.

The finding follows a March announcement of an apparently harmless pig virus found in a rival rotavirus vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline Plc.

Merck said in a statement the company’s testing found “very low levels” of DNA from porcine circovirus, or PCV, in its Rotateq vaccine.

“There is no evidence at this time that DNA from PCV causes any disease in humans,” Merck said.

The FDA said the number of virus DNA fragments in the Merck vaccine may be smaller than what has been found with Glaxo’s product, called Rotarix.

Findings on the Merck and Glaxo vaccines will be discussed on Friday with an FDA advisory panel of outside experts, the agency said.

Editing by Maureen Bavdek; Editing by Tim Dobbyn

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