The effect of diatomaceous earth in live, attenuated infectious bronchitis vaccine, immune responses, and protection against challenge

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Live virus vaccines are commonly used in poultry production, particularly in broilers. Massive application and generation of a protective local mucosal and humoral immunity with no adverse effects is the main goal for this strategy. Live virus vaccines can be improved by adding adjuvants to boost mucosal innate and adaptive responses. In a previous study we showed that diatomaceous earth (DE) can be used as adjuvant in inactivated vaccines. The aim of this study was to test DE as adjuvant in an Ark-DPI live infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) vaccine after ocular or spray application. Titrating the virus alone or after addition of DE showed that DE had no detrimental effect on the vaccine virus. However, adding DE to the vaccine did not induce higher IgG titers in the serum and IgA titers in tears. It also did not affect the frequency of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells and monocytes/macrophages in the blood and the spleen determined by flow cytometry. In addition, protection generated against IBV homologous challenges, measured by viral load in tears, respiratory signs and histopathology in tracheas, did not vary when DE was present in the vaccine formulation. Finally, we confirmed through our observations that Ark vaccines administered by hatchery spray cabinet elicit weaker immune responses and protection against an IBV homologous challenge compared to the same vaccine delivered via ocular route.

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