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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e52751. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052751. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

Generation by reverse genetics of an effective, stable, live-attenuated newcastle disease virus vaccine based on a currently circulating, highly virulent Indonesian strain.

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Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.


Newcastle disease virus (NDV) can cause severe disease in chickens. Although NDV vaccines exist, there are frequent reports of outbreaks in vaccinated chickens. During 2009-2010, despite intense vaccination, NDV caused major outbreaks among commercial poultry farms in Indonesia. These outbreaks raised concern regarding the protective immunity of current vaccines against circulating virulent strains in Indonesia. In this study, we investigated whether a recombinant attenuated Indonesian NDV strain could provide better protection against prevalent Indonesian viruses. A reverse genetics system for the highly virulent NDV strain Banjarmasin/010/10 (Ban/010) isolated in Indonesia in 2010 was constructed. The Ban/010 virus is classified in genotype VII of class II NDV, which is genetically distinct from the commercial vaccine strains B1 and LaSota, which belong to genotype II, and shares only 89 and 87% amino acid identity for the protective antigens F and HN, respectively. A mutant virus, named Ban/AF, was developed in which the virulent F protein cleavage site motif "RRQKR↓F" was modified to an avirulent motif "GRQGR↓L" by three amino acid substitutions (underlined). The Ban/AF vaccine virus did not produce syncytia or plaques in cell culture, even in the presence of added protease. Pathogenicity tests showed that Ban/AF was completely avirulent. Ban/AF replicated efficiently during 10 consecutive passages in chickens and remained genetically stable. Serological analysis showed that Ban/AF induced higher neutralization and hemagglutination inhibition antibody titers against the prevalent viruses than the commercial vaccines B1 or LaSota. Both Ban/AF and commercial vaccines provided protection against clinical disease and mortality after challenge with virulent NDV strain Ban/010 (genotype VII) or GB Texas (genotype II). However, Ban/AF significantly reduced challenge virus shedding from the vaccinated birds compared to B1 vaccine. These results suggest that Ban/AF can provide better protection than commercial vaccines and is a promising vaccine candidate against NDV strains circulating in Indonesia.

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