Viral vectored vaccines are desirable alternatives for conventional infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) vaccines. We have recently shown that a recombinant Newcastle disease virus (rNDV) strain LaSota expressing the spike (S) protein of IBV strain Mass-41 (rLaSota/IBV-S) was a promising vaccine candidate for IBV. Here we evaluated a novel chimeric rNDV/avian paramyxovirus serotype 2 (rNDV/APMV-2) as a vaccine vector against IBV. The rNDV/APMV-2 vector was chosen because it is much safer than the rNDV strain LaSota vector, particularly for young chicks and chicken embryos. In order to determine the effectiveness of this vector, a recombinant rNDV/APMV-2 expressing the S protein of IBV strain Mass-41 (rNDV/APMV-2/IBV-S) was constructed. The protective efficacy of this vector vaccine was compared to that of the rNDV vector vaccine. In one study, groups of one-day-old specific-pathogenic-free (SPF) chickens were immunized with rLaSota/IBV-S and rNDV/APMV-2/IBV-S and challenged four weeks later with the homologous highly virulent IBV strain Mass-41. In another study, groups of broiler chickens were single (at day one or three weeks of age) or prime-boost (prime at day one and boost at three weeks of age) immunized with rLaSota/IBV-S and/or rNDV-APMV-2/IBV-S. At weeks six of age, chickens were challenged with a highly virulent IBV strain Mass-41. Our challenge study showed that novel rNDV/APMV-2/IBV-S provided similar protection as rLaSota/IBV-S in SPF chickens. However, compared to prime-boost immunization of chickens with chimeric rNDV/APMV-2, rLaSota/IBV-S and/or a live IBV vaccine, single immunization of chickens with rLaSota/IBV-S, or live IBV vaccine provided better protection against IBV. In conclusion, we have developed the novel rNDV/APMV-2 vector expressing S protein of IBV that can be a safer vaccine against IB in chickens. Our results also suggest a single immunization with a LaSota vectored IBV vaccine candidate provides better protection than prime-boost immunization regimens.
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