SUMMARY. Two experiments determined the influence of an experimental reovirus-antibody complex vaccine on Marek's disease virus (MDV) vaccine when used in ovo. Designs were the same except that specific-pathogen-free (SPF) broiler eggs were used in Experiment 1 and commercial broiler eggs with maternal antibodies against reovirus were used in Experiment 2. At 18 days of incubation, embryos were separated into four groups and inoculated with either diluent, MDV vaccine, reovirus-antibody complex vaccine, or a combination of reovirus-antibody complex and MDV vaccine. At 5 days of age, half the chickens in each group were challenged with MDV. At 7 wk old, all were euthanatized, weighed, and examined. At 7 days of age, remaining chickens in each group were challenged with reovirus. At 21 days old, chickens were euthanatized and weighed. No vaccine adversely affected hatchability or posthatch mortality in SPF or commercial chickens. There were no significant differences in protection against reovirus challenge when vaccines were used separately or in combination, and lesion scores were nearly identical in all vaccinated groups in both experiments. However, percentage of protection against reovirus was lower in Experiment 2, indicating an adverse effect of maternal immunity on efficacy of the reovirus vaccine. There were no significant differences in protection against MDV when the vaccines were used separately or combined. Severity of MDV lesions was nearly identical in all vaccinated groups in both experiments. However, the combination of vaccines gave numerically lower protection against MDV than MDV vaccine alone. Use of a larger number of birds, as in field conditions, may result in statistically lower protection for the vaccine combination. Large field trials are needed to determine the potential of the reovirus-antibody complex vaccine.
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Vol. 47 • No. 4