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Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira

Print version ISSN 0100-736X


SCHMIDT, Candice et al. Experimental vaccine produced in tissue culture confers partial protection against contagious ecthyma in sheep. Pesq. Vet. Bras. [online]. 2012, vol.32, n.1, pp.11-16. ISSN 0100-736X.

Contagious ecthyma, also known as orf, is a debilitating disease of sheep and goats caused by the parapoxvirus, orf virus (ORFV). Vaccination has been used with relative success to reduce the losses caused by the disease, yet the current vaccines contain virulent virus, are empirically produced through skin scarification of live lambs, and present questionable efficacy. Therefore, the present study aimed at developing and testing an experimental ORFV vaccine produced in tissue culture. The ORFV strain IA-82 was submitted to 21 passages in BHK-21 cells and then used to immunize lam bs (n=30) through skin scarification of the internal face of the hind limb. Vaccination produced localized pustules and scabs lesions in 16 out of 30 animals, indicating an adequate replication of the vaccine virus. Ninety days after vaccination, vaccinated (n=16) and control lambs (n=16) were inoculated with a virulent ORFV strain (106,9TCID50/ml) in the labial commissure. Vaccinated and control lambs developed typical orf lesions, characterized by hyperemia, vesicles, pustules and scab formation. Nonetheless, vaccinated animals developed milder lesions compared to controls and the clinical scores were significantly lower (p<0.05) between days 10 and 22 post-challenge. In addition, the mean duration of clinical disease was significantly reduced in vaccinated animals (p<0.05). Furthermore, vaccinated animals excreted much less virus (p<0.05) and for a significantly shorter period of time than did the controls (13 days versus 22 days, p<0.001). These results demonstrate partial protection by the experimental vaccine and, upon improvement of immunization and protection indices, are promising towards the use of tissue culture-based ORFV vaccines.

Keywords : Contagious ecthyma; orf; sheep; vaccine; tissue culture.

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