Avian influenza (AI) remains a major threat to public health as well as to the poultry industry. AI vaccines are considered a suitable tool to support AI control programs in combination with other control measures such as good biosecurity and monitoring programs. We constructed recombinant turkey herpesvirus (HVT) vector vaccines expressing the hemagglutinin gene of AI virus H5 subtype (rHVT‐H5) and evaluated their characteristics and efficacy against AI. We found that the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter is the most suitable for expression of the hemagglutinin gene among three promoters we evaluated. The rHVT‐H5 vaccine did not cause any adverse reactions and did not revert to virulence after passages in chicken. Finally, efficacy of the rHVT‐H5 vaccine was evaluated. We demonstrated that it provided protection against diverse AI H5 viruses belonging to different clades and reduced virus shedding from the challenged chicken. We also proved that efficacy provided by the rHVT‐H5 vaccine was not significantly affected by presence of maternally derived antibodies (MDA) against AI virus. Furthermore, the rHVT‐H5 vaccine could be applicable to the differentiating infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA) strategy. In summary, we successfully developed a HVT vector AI vaccine that possesses features that could be beneficial to AI control.
Part of the book: Steps Forwards in Diagnosing and Controlling Influenza