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Avian Pathol. 1982;11(4):593-605.

Characterisation of two highly oncogenic strains of Marek's disease virus.

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Department of Avian and Aquatic Animal Medicine, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


The RB-1B and ALA-8 strains of Marek's disease (MD) virus, which were isolated from chickens with MD and which had been vaccinated with the herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT), were evaluated for their oncogenic potential in genetically susceptible (P-line) and resistant (N-line, PDRC) chickens. RB-1B and ALA-8 were both highly oncogenic, causing a high incidence of MD in both susceptible and resistant birds. Vaccination of P-line birds with SB-1 or HVT did not protect satisfactorily against RB-1B. However, a bivalent vaccine consisting of SB-1 and HVT enhanced protection significantly. HVT alone, and the bivalent vaccine, protected PDRC and N-line chickens well against RB-1B, but SB-1 was less protective in PDRC birds. HVT protected equally well against challenge with ALA-8 and the standard JM-10 strain. Differences in the pathogenesis of viral infection could not be detected among ALA-8, RB-1B and JM-10 between 4-7 days post-infection (d.p.i.). However, after d.p.i. 12 RB-1B caused significantly higher levels of viral internal antigen and virus isolation rates than did JM-10 in the same genetic strain. Prior vaccination prevented the expression of ALA-8 at 5 and 20 d.p.i., but not that of RB-1B. Pathogenetic events such as expression of VIA or level of virus infection appeared to be directly related to the level of protection observed in challenged birds.


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