Author(s): Lee CW, Senne DA, Suarez DL
Vaccination of poultry with inactivated influenza vaccine can be an effective tool in the control of avian influenza (AI). One major concern of using inactivated vaccine is vaccine-induced antibody interference with serologic surveillance and epidemiology. In the United States, low pathogenicity H5 and H7 subtype AI viruses have caused serious economic losses in the poultry industry. Most of these viruses also have the accompanying N2 subtype and no H5N1 or H7N8 subtype AI viruses have been identified in poultry in the US. In order to allow the Differentiation of Infected from Vaccinated Animals (DIVA) while maintaining maximum efficacy of the vaccine, we generated reassortant viruses by reverse genetics that contained the same H5 and H7 hemagglutinin (HA) gene as the challenge virus, but a heterologous N1 or N8 neuraminidase (NA) gene. In vaccination-challenge experiments in 2-week-old specific pathogen free chickens, reassortant influenza vaccines (rH5N1 and rH7N8) demonstrated similar antibody profiles and comparable protection rates as vaccines prepared with parent H5N2 and H7N2 viruses. Further, we were able to differentiate the sera from infected and vaccinated birds by neuraminidase inhibition test and indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay on the basis of different antibodies elicited by their NA proteins. These results demonstrate the usefulness of a reverse genetics system for the rapid generation of reassortant AI virus that allows utilization of the DIVA strategy for the control of AI infections in poultry.