Evaluation of 793/B-like and Mass-like vaccine strain kinetics in experimental and field conditions by real-time RT-PCR quantification

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Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is a great economic burden both for productive losses and costs of the control strategies. Many different vaccination protocols are applied in the same region and even in consecutive cycles on the same farm in order to find the perfect balance between costs and benefits. In Northern Italy, the usual second vaccination is more and more often moved up to the chick's first d of life. The second strain administration together with the common Mass priming by spray at the hatchery allows saving money and time and reducing animal stress. The present work compared the different vaccine strains (Mass-like or B48, and 1/96) kinetics both in field conditions and in a 21-day-long experimental trial in broilers, monitoring the viral replication by upper respiratory tract swabbing and vaccine specific real time reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) quantification. In both field and experimental conditions, titers for all the vaccines showed an increasing trend in the first 2 wk and then a decrease, though still remaining detectable during the whole monitored period. IBV field strain and avian Metapneumovirus (aMPV) presence also was also investigated by RT-PCR and sequencing, and by multiplex real-time RT-PCR, respectively, revealing a consistency in the pathogen introduction timing at around 30 d, in correspondence with the vaccine titer's main decrease. These findings suggest the need for an accurate knowledge of live vaccine kinetics, whose replication can compete with the other pathogen one, providing additional protection to be added to what is conferred by the adaptive immune response.

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