The potency of inactivated Newcastle disease virus (NDV) vaccines in the United States is currently determined using vaccination and challenge of experimental animals against a velogenic strain of NDV. Because velogenic strains of NDV are now classified as select agents in the United States, all vaccine potency testing must be performed in live animals under biosafety level 3 agriculture conditions. If the minimum amount of inactivated viral antigen required for clinical protection can be determined using other methods, vaccines meeting these criteria might be considered of adequate potency. The linearity of correlation between the hemagglutination (HA) assay measurement and the 50% embryo infectious dose titer of NDV Hitchner B1 vaccine virus was determined. Correlation between hemagglutinin units (HAU) per vaccine dose, clinical protection, and antibody response was then determined using a vaccinate-and-challenge model similar to Chapter 9 of the U.S. code of federal regulations approved method for vaccine potency testing. The dose providing 50% protection of an in-house water-in-oil emulsion vaccine formulated with inactivated NDV B1 was determined to be between 400 and 600 HAU from two separate trials. A positive correlation (R2 = 0.97) was observed between antibody response and HAU per vaccine dose. Serum antibody responses from vaccinated birds indicate HA inhibition titers >25 log2 would provide 100% protection from morbidity and mortality and require a minimum protective dose of 1000 HAU per bird. These are the first studies to examine establishing both a minimum protective HAU content for inactivated ND vaccines and a minimum serologic response necessary to ensure potency.
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Vol. 52 • No. 2