Worldwide, Newcastle disease (ND) remains one of the most economically important diseases of poultry. Current vaccination strategies for commercial poultry include the use of inactivated and live ND vaccines that typically induce protection against virulent field viruses. Here, we tested the efficacy of an antigen–antibody complex (AAC) ND vaccine delivered in ovo. Commercial maternal antibody–positive broiler chickens (Gallus domesticus) were vaccinated in ovo with an AAC vaccine composed of live B1-LaSota Newcastle disease virus (NDV) complexed with NDV-specific antiserum, and then they were challenged at weekly intervals after hatch. Challenge viruses included three exotic ND disease (END) viruses: the neurotropic strain Texas GB NDV-92-01 (TxGB) and two viscerotropic isolates, one isolate from the 2002–2003 outbreak in California (California 2002 isolate S212676 [CA]) and the other isolate from a 1997 END outbreak in South Korea (South Korea 94-147 [SK]). Results demonstrate that maternal antibody was able to provide approximately 50% protection in either vaccinated or control chickens at 7 days of age after TxGB challenge. However, with challenge at ≥14 days, most control birds died, whereas all AAC-vaccinated birds were protected. Challenge with the CA or SK viruses in chickens at 28 days of age resulted in 100% protection of vaccinated birds, whereas all control birds died. In addition, AAC-vaccinated birds displayed decreased incidence of viral shedding in oral and cloacal swabs than control birds. Antibody titers were significantly (P < 0.05) higher in vaccinated chickens, as determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and hemagglutinin-inhibition tests, than in nonvaccinated controls. Together, these results demonstrate the efficacy of AAC vaccines delivered in ovo to protect commercial poultry.
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Vol. 56 • No. 3