SUMMARY. A commercial reovirus vaccine alone or experimental reovirus vaccine plus antibody complex were inoculated into 18-day-old specific pathogen free (SPF) broiler embryos at 0.1 of the recommended chick dose. The following groups were used: group 1A was not vaccinated or challenged; group 1B was not vaccinated, but was challenged with virulent reovirus; group 2 received the vaccine complexed with 1/4 dilution of antiserum; group 3 received the vaccine with 1/8 dilution of antiserum; group 4 received the vaccine with 1/16 dilution of antiserum, and group 5 received vaccine alone. At 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 days of age, serum was collected and antibody against avian reovirus was analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). At the same times, spleens were collected and vaccine virus detected by inoculating chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs) and examining for cytopathic effect. At 15 days of age, chickens in groups 2–5 were challenged with reovirus. At 22 days of age, birds were euthanatized and weighed. Efficacy of the vaccines was based on safety, percent protection, and antibody response.
In ovo vaccination with the commercial or experimental vaccines did not adversely affect hatchability of SPF chickens. The vaccine complexed with antibody resulted in significantly less posthatch mortality (3.7%) when compared to mortality of chickens that received vaccine alone (17%). Both vaccine virus recovery and antibody response were delayed at least 3 days in birds receiving the experimental vaccines. In ovo administration of reovirus antibody complex vaccines provided at least 70% protection. The experimental reovirus–antibody complex vaccines were safe and efficacious when given in ovo to SPF broiler embryos.