The use of viral vectors for transgenic expression of immunogenic proteins is a current trend in the poultry industry. The objective of this work was to assess the protection against the variant E of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV), conferred by day-one vaccination with a commercial recombinant herpesvirus of turkey (HVT) vaccine (VAXXITEK®) expressing the immunogenic viral protein 2 from a classical IBDV. In separate trials, 1-day-old specific-pathogen-free (SPF) or broiler chickens were vaccinated by the subcutaneous route and challenged with the variant E strain at 18 or 28 days of age. Bursa/body weight ratio and bursal histopathology were assessed as protection criteria. Protection was demonstrated at both challenge points, bursal indexes in vaccinated SPF and broiler groups were significantly higher than in the challenged controls. The commercial vaccine protected against bursal damage as indicated by significantly lower bursal lesion scores in the vaccinated birds. These experimental results indicate that a single dose of the recombinant HVT-IBDV confers protection against variant E challenge even though the VP2 expressed by the recombinant herpes virus belongs to a standard strain.
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Vol. 53 • No. 4