In this study we evaluated the effectiveness of adding serotype 793B vaccine to an immunization program in order to control the infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) GI-16 lineage. Therefore, two different experiments were performed. First, a virus cross-neutralization test was carried out, which indicated that neither the Massachusetts (Mass) nor 793B serotypes are antigenically related to the field isolate A13 (GI-16). We also performed a challenge trial to evaluate if the Mass/793B combination is more efficient than Mass/Connecticut (Conn) to protect chickens against the Argentinian variant A13. Thus, 40 chickens were organized in four groups. Chickens in Group A were vaccinated at 1 day of age with Mass serotype and then at 14 days old with Mass plus Conn serotypes. Chickens in Group B received Mass and 793B serotypes at 1 and 14 days old, respectively. Groups C and D remained unvaccinated. At 28 days of age, Groups A, B, and C were challenged with the A13 isolate, while Group D remained as the negative control. The statistical analysis of the ciliostasis evaluation, performed at 7 days postchallenge (dpch), indicated that the difference between Mass/793B and Mass/Conn was not significant (p > 0.05). However, the comparison against the negative control showed that only Group A was significantly different, suggesting a slightly better performance on blocking ciliostasis for the Mass/793B combination. On the other hand, no significant differences were observed in the viral load, quantified by reverse-transcription quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) in tracheal swabs and kidneys (at 3 and 7 dpch, respectively) between vaccinated groups. Furthermore, some amounts of the viral genome were found in both vaccinated groups that could indicate that neither the Mass/793B nor the Mass/Conn combinations totally inhibited the viral replication. Such viral replication in vaccinated chickens should seriously be taken into consideration because it could promote the selection of new variants in the future.
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Vol. 65 • No. 3