Recombinant duck enteritis viruses expressing major structural proteins of the infectious bronchitis virus provide protection against infectious bronchitis in chickens

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To design an alternative vaccine for control of infectious bronchitis in chickens, three recombinant duck enteritis viruses (rDEVs) expressing the N, S, or S1 protein of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) were constructed using conventional homologous recombination methods, and were designated as rDEV-N, rDEV-S, and rDEV-S1, respectively. Chickens were divided into five vaccinated groups, which were each immunized with one of the rDEVs, covalent vaccination with rDEV-N & rDEV-S, or covalent vaccination with rDEV-N & rDEV-S1, and a control group. An antibody response against IBV was detectable and the ratio of CD4+/CD8+ T-lymphocytes decreased at 7 days post-vaccination in each vaccinated group, suggesting that humoral and cellular responses were elicited in each group as early as 7 days post-immunization. After challenge with a homologous virulent IBV strain at 21 days post-immunization, vaccinated groups showed significant differences in the percentage of birds with clinical signs, as compared to the control group (p < 0.01), as the two covalent-vaccination groups and the rDEV-S group provided better protection than the rDEV-N- or rDEV-S1-vaccinated group. There was less viral shedding in the rDEV-N & rDEV-S- (2/10) and rDEV-N & rDEV-S1- (2/10) vaccinated groups than the other three vaccinated groups. Based on the clinical signs, viral shedding, and mortality rates, rDEV-N & rDEV-S1 covalent vaccination conferred better protection than use of any of the single rDEVs.

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