Examination of the protective efficacy of two avian influenza H5 vaccines against clade H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in commercial broilers

01 Nov 2021
El-Shall NA, Awad AM and Sedeik ME

The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 virus of clade was detected in 2017 in Egypt, which is one of the few countries using vaccination as a control strategy in poultry farms. This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the commercial recombinant turkey herpes virus-H5 (rHVT-H5) vaccine (clade 2.2), alone or in combination with commercial inactivated reverse genetically engineered H5N1 vaccine (rgH5N1) (clade 2.2), in preventing the genetically distinct HPAI H5N8 virus of clade in commercial broiler chickens. Four experimental groups of chickens were used as follows: G1, non-vaccinated and non-challenged; G2, non-vaccinated and challenged; G3, vaccinated with rHVT-H5; and G4, prime-boost vaccinated with rHVT-H5/rgH5N1. For challenge with the Egyptian HPAI H5N8 ( virus, the groups were divided into two subgroups (A and B); chickens in subgroups A were challenged at the age of 28 days, whereas those in subgroups B were challenged at the age of 35 days. Results showed that a protective efficacy (survival rate) of 40%-50% was obtained in the vaccinated subgroups A. By delaying challenge for 1 week (subgroups B), a single rHVT-H5 vaccination provided 80% protection, whereas prime-boost vaccination induced full protection and reduced viral shedding very efficiently (1/10 birds and only detected on the 3rd day post challenge) against HPAI H5N8 virus ( Moreover, body weight loss improved from 31.39% and 43.65% in G3A and G4A, respectively, to 16.34% and 7.7% in G3B and G4B, respectively. The HI titers obtained in G3A and G4A on the challenge day (28th d) using H5N8 antigen were 3 and 3.75 log2 (p > 0.05), respectively, whereas those in G3B and G4B on the challenge day (35th d) were 6.25 and 6 log2 (p > 0.05), respectively, which increased post-challenge in all vaccinated subgroups. Therefore, the dual use of vectored rHVT-H5 and inactivated rgH5N1 vaccines in the vaccination schedule in poultry farms is the most efficient tool for preventing the disease (mortality and viral shedding) caused by the genetically distinct virus (clade HPAI H5N8) in combination with strict biosecurity and sanitary measures.