Replication-deficient particles: new insights into the next generation of bluetongue virus vaccines
Celma, Cristina C.
Van Rijn, Piet A.
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Bluetongue virus (BTV) is endemic in many parts of the world, often causing severe hemorrhagic disease in livestock. To date, at least 27 different sero- types have been recognized. Vaccination against all serotypes is necessary to protect susceptible animals and to prevent onward spread of the virus by insect vectors. In our previous studies, we generated replication-deficient (disabled infectious single- cycle [DISC]) virus strains for a number of serotypes and reported preliminary data on their protective efficacy in animals. In this report, to advance the DISC vaccines to the marketplace, we investigated different parameters of these DISC vaccines. First, we demonstrated the genetic stabilities of these vaccine strains and also the complementing cell line. Subsequently, the optimal storage conditions of vaccines, including additives, temperature, and desiccation, were determined and their protec- tive efficacies in animals confirmed. Furthermore, to test if mixtures of different vac- cine strains could be tolerated, we tested cocktails of DISC vaccines in combinations of three or six different serotypes in sheep and cattle, the two natural hosts of BTV. Groups of sheep vaccinated with a cocktail of six different vaccines were completely protected from challenge with individual virulent serotypes, both in early challenge and after 5 months of challenge without any clinical disease. There was no interfer- ence in protection between the different vaccines. Protection was also achieved in cattle with a mixture of three vaccine strains, albeit at a lesser level than in sheep. Our data support and validate the suitability of these virus strains as the next- generation vaccines for BTV