Infection of maternal, antibody-negative chickens with chicken infectious anemia virus (CIAV) can cause clinical disease, while infection after maternal antibodies wane often results in subclinical infection and immunosuppression. Currently, vaccines are not available for vaccination in ovo or in newly hatched chickens. Development of CIAV vaccines for in ovo use depends on the ability to generate vaccines that do not cause lesions in newly hatched chicks and that can induce an immune response regardless of maternal immunity. Immune complex (IC) vaccines have been successfully used for control of infectious bursal disease, and we used a similar approach to determine if an IC vaccine is feasible for CIAV. Immune complexes were prepared that consisted of 0.1 ml containing 105.4 tissue culture infective dose 50% of CIA-1 and 0.1 ml containing 10 to 160 neutralizing units (IC Positive [ICP]10 to ICP160), in which one neutralizing unit is the reciprocal of the serum dilution required to protect 50% of CU147 cells from the cytopathic effects caused by CIA-1. Virus replication was delayed comparing ICP80 and ICP160 with combinations using negative serum (IC Negative [ICN]80 or ICN160). In addition, the number of birds with hematocrit values <28% were decreased with ICP80 or ICP160 compared to ICN80 or ICN160. Seroconversion was delayed in ICP80 and ICP160 groups. To determine if ICP80 or ICN160 protected against challenge, we vaccinated maternal, antibody-free birds at 1 day of age and challenged at 2 wk or 3 wk of age with the 01-4201 strain. Both ICP80 and ICP160 protected against replication of the challenge virus, which was measured using differential quantitative PCR with primers distinguishing between the two isolates. Thus, in principle, immune complex vaccines may offer a method to protect newly hatched chicks against challenge with field virus. However, additional studies using maternal, antibody-positive chicks in combination with in ovo vaccination will be needed to determine if immune complex vaccines will be useful to protect commercial chickens.
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Vol. 55 • No. 1