New in-ovo vaccine for IBV

05-01-2007 | |

UK scientists are developing a new way to vaccinate chicks against infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), which causes losses of £23.6M a year to the UK poultry industry.

The Institute for Animal Health (IAH) and vaccine company Intervet are developing a vaccine that can be delivered to the birds while they are still in their egg using robotic ‘vaccinators’.
The pre-hatching prototype vaccine virus provides immunity to IBV – the worst infectious disease in terms of economic loss to the UK poultry industry. Infection can lead to severe respiratory disease, dramatically reduce egg production and affect the quality and hatchability of eggs.
The researchers, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Intervet UK, used a ‘reverse genetic’ system to produce new vaccine strains. Existing strains, which are usually delivered by less efficient spray or drinking water dosage, can prevent chicks hatching if delivered in the egg.
The scientists have extracted a so-called spike protein from a pathogenic virus strain which triggers an immune response, and incorporated it into a harmless non-pathogenic strain.
Dr Paul Britton, Head of the Coronavirus Group at IAH Compton, explained, “This hybrid virus was able to induce immunity when inoculated before hatching. When hatched chicks were exposed to the virulent M41 strain, we observed protection rates of up to 100 percent.”