This article reports the characterization of two cytopathic isolates of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV-1: IBSP-2; BVDV-2:SV-253) submitted to multiple passages (n=30) in tissue culture associated with ultraviolet irradiation. The vaccine candidate strains were characterized in vitro (plaque size and morphology, growth kinetics and antigenic profile) and in vivo (attenuation and serological response in calves). In vitro characterization of biologically cloned viruses obtained at passages 0, 1, 10, 20 and 30 demonstrated that the attenuation process did not significantly affect the phenotypic and antigenic properties of the viruses. No major differences in plaque size and morphology and in the growth kinetics in tissue culture were observed among the viruses obtained at different passages. Likewise, the antigenic profile of these viruses did not change upon successive passages in tissue culture, as ascertained by the pattern of binding by 48 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Intramuscular inoculation of both viruses (IBSP-2: 10(7.3) TCID50; SV-253: 10(6.8) TCID50) at passage 30 (p30) in twelve 15 months old heifers did not produce clinical signs, demonstrating the attenuation of the viruses. Following inoculation, infectious virus was detected in leucocytes of most inoculated animals (10/12) between days 3 and 6 post-inoculation (pi) and in nasal secretions of three animals (days 4, 7 and 8pi). However, the vaccine viruses were not transmitted to three seronegative calves maintained as sentinels. All vaccinated calves seroconverted at day 14 post-vaccination. A moderate to high serum neutralizing response against five Brazilian BVDV-1 (titers from 80 to > 1,280) and four Brazilian BVDV-2 isolates (titers from 20 to 640) was observed at day 33 post-vaccination (pv). In general, the highest titers were observed against the Brazilian BVDV-1 isolates. At day 240 post-vaccination, the animals received a booster administration (IBSP-2: 10(7.3) TCID50 and SV-253: 10(6.8) TCID50). Revaccination resulted in a strong anamnestic response in most animals, with increasing antibody titers mainly to BVDV-2. These are promising results towards the future use of these strains in modified-live vaccines for the control of BVDV infection in Brazil .
Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV); modified-live vaccine; attenuation