From October 2016 to July 2017, 47 countries have been affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses of the H5N8 clade 22.214.171.124 subtype, including European and African, and it has been the most severe HPAI outbreak ever in Europe. The development of effective influenza vaccines is required to combine preventive and control measures in order to avoid similar avian influenza epidemics taking place. Here we describe a novel prototype recombinant virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine based on a clade 126.96.36.199 H5 HA derived from a French duck HPAI H5N8 isolate of the 2016–2017 epidemics. Prototype vaccines with different antigen content were formulated and the immunogenicity was examined in specific-pathogen-free chickens and in ducks. Serum samples were collected at 3 and 4 weeks postvaccination, and development of the immune response was evaluated by hemagglutination inhibition test and ELISA. The VLP vaccines induced a dose-dependent and high level of antibody response in both chickens and ducks. The results of HPAI H5N8 challenge experiments in ducks are reported separately.
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Vol. 63 • No. sp1