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Since 1998, Bluetongue virus (BTV)-serotypes 1, 2, 4, 9, and 16 have invaded European countries around the Mediterranean Basin. In 2006, a huge BT outbreak started after incursion of BTV serotype 8 (BTV8) in North-Western Europe. IN 2008, BTV6 and BTV11 were reported in the Netherlands and Germany, and in Belgium, respectively. In addition, Toggenburg orbivirus (TOV) was detected in 2008 in Swiss goats, which was recognized as a new serotype of BTV (BTV25). The (re-)emergency of BTV serotypes needs a rapid response to supply effective vaccines. Reverse genetics has been developed for BTV1 and more recently also for BTV6. This latter strain, BTV6/net08, is closely related to live-attenuated vaccine for serotype 6 as determined by full genome sequencing. Here, we used this strain as backbone and exchanged segment 2 and 6, respectively Seg-2 (VP2) and Seg-6 (VP5), for those of BTV serotype 1 and 8 using reverse genetics. These so-called ‘serotyped’ vaccine viruses, as mono-serotype and multi-serotype vaccine, were compared for their protective capacity in sheep. In general, all vaccinated animals developed a neutralizing antibody response against their respective serotype. After challenge at three weeks post vaccination with cell-passaged, virulent BTV8/net07 (BTV8/net07/e1/bhkp3) the vaccinated animals showed nearly no clinical reaction. Even more, challenge virus could not be detected, and seroconversion or boostering after challenge was negligible. These data demonstrate that all sheep were protected from a challenge with BTV8/net07, since sheep of the control group showed viremia, seroconversion and clinical signs that are specific for Bluetongue. The high level of cross-protection is discussed.
- capsid protein