A novel method for performing antigenic vaccine matching for foot-and-mouth disease in absence of the homologous virus

14 Aug 2019
Mohamed M.Sirdar, Geoffrey T.Fosgate, Belinda Blignaut, Bruce Gummow, Bernard Shiley, David D.Lazarus, P.Mutowembw, Danica van der Merwe, Livio Heath

Foot-and-mouth-disease (FMD) is a highly contagious transboundary animal disease that has negative consequences on regional and international trade. Vaccination is an important approach for FMD control and an essential consideration is the degree of cross-protection conferred by the vaccine against currently circulating field viruses. The objective of this study was to evaluate a new vaccine matching technique that does not require knowledge concerning the homologous vaccine virus. As a proof of concept, the vaccine-match was assessed for 41 FMD field viruses isolated from southern Africa over a 25-year period.

A diverse group of 20 SAT1 and 21 SAT2 FMDV isolates collected from cattle and wildlife during 1991–2015 were selected for this study. Virus neutralization tests were performed against two sets of pooled sera for each serotype: vaccinated cattle sera (4–16 weeks post-vaccination) and convalescent cattle sera (3 weeks post-experimental challenge). Novel r1-values were calculated as the ratio of the titre of the vaccinated sera to the titre for convalescent cattle sera. A validation r1-value was calculated based on an assumption concerning the true homologous vaccine virus. There was a strong positive correlation between r1-values for the novel and the validation methods for SAT1 viruses (Spearman’s rho = 0.84, P < 0.01) and a very strong correlation for SAT2 viruses (Spearman’s rho = 0.90, P < 0.01). In addition, there was moderate to good agreement between the novel and validation methods for both serotypes based on a r1-value cut-off of 0.3, which is presumed to represent a good vaccine-match. The agreement between methods using prevalence-adjusted and bias-adjusted kappa (PABAK) was 0.67 and 0.84 for SAT1 and SAT2 viruses, respectively.

The new r1-value method provides a feasible, alternative vaccine matching approach that could benefit FMD control in southern Africa.