Zongxi Han, Xiaochen Xu, Huixin Li, Lili Zhang, Yutong Hou, Shengwang Liu
Infect Genet Evol.2021 Jun 25;93:104980.doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2021.104980. Online ahead of print.
This study demonstrates that infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) strain M41, which is pathogenic for chickens, is nonpathogenic for pheasants. However, M41 replicated in the respiratory tracts of most inoculated pheasants and the virus was shed from their respiratory tracts in the early stages of infection (4 and 8 dpc). Similarly, the attenuated IBV H120 vaccine strain also replicated and the virus was shed from their respiratory tracts of most inoculated pheasants, whereas the pheasant coronavirus (PhCoV) I0623/17 replicated in the respiratory tracts of all challenged pheasants, which then shed virus for a long period of time. Strain M41 also replicated in selected tissues of the inoculated pheasants, including the lung, kidney, proventriculus, and cecal tonsil, although the viral titers were very low. Therefore, it was important to establish whether the H120 vaccine, which has a limited replication capacity in pheasants, induces a protective immune response to both "homologous" M41 and "heterologous" I0623/17 challenge. Vaccination with H120 induced humoral responses, and the replication of M41 was reduced or restricted in the tissues of the H120-vaccinated pheasants compared with its replication in unvaccinated birds. This implies that partial protection was conferred on pheasants by vaccination with the H120 vaccine. Prolonged viral replication and a large number of birds shedding virus into the respiratory tract were also observed in the unvaccinated pheasants after inoculation with M41. However, only limited protection against challenge with PhCoV I0623/17 was conferred on pheasants vaccinated with H120, largely because the replication of H120 in pheasants was limited, thus, limiting the immune responses induced by it. The low amino acid identity of the S1 subunit of the S proteins of H120 and I0623/17 might also account, at least in part, for the poor cross-protective immunity induced by H120. These results suggest that further work is required to rationally design vaccines that confer effective protection against PhCoV infection in commercial pheasant stocks.
Keywords: Infectious bronchitis virus; Pheasant coronavirus; Protection; Replication; Vaccination.
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