Comparison of the sensitivity of in vitro and in vivo tests for detection of the presence of a bovine viral diarrhoea virus type 1 strain

A.F.G. Antonis, A. Bouma, J. de Bree, M.C.M. de Jong

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Veterinary vaccines are usually tested for the absence of contaminants. However, the quality control does not always imply that vaccines are not contaminated as, for example, illustrated by the bovine herpes virus 1 (BHV1) vaccine used in The Netherlands in 1999 that contained a small amount of bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV1). Thousands of cows were vaccinated with BHV1 vaccine batches, and the question arose as to whether these small amounts of BVDV1, most likely not detected with in vitro tests, could have infected cattle. More in general, the question was whether the outcome of the in vitro tests, i.e. the in vitro infectivity, was indicative for the infectivity for cattle, i.e. the in vivo infectivity. We therefore carried out in vitro experiments to determine the sensitivity of a BVDV1 isolation assay. In addition, we performed two animal experiments, in which we estimated the lowest dose needed to infect calves with BVDV L We extrapolated the experimental in vitro and in vivo results from a tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50) to a cattle infectious dose (CID50). We observed a partial response in the calves inoculated with this dose: four out of six calves turned out to be infected. In the tissue culture test, all 20 samples tested negative. The response in vivo, however, was not significantly higher than the in vitro response, which implies that no difference in susceptibility was observed between the animal test and the tissue culture test. Based on the results in our experiments, some cattle may have been infected with BVDV1 after the application of the contaminated BHV1 vaccine during the vaccination campaign. The question remains that how many cattle received contaminated vaccine, and became infected with BVDV1. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-140
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • linked-immunosorbent-assay
  • fetal protection
  • glycoprotein e2
  • subunit vaccine
  • pestivirus rna
  • marker vaccine
  • cattle
  • herpesvirus-1
  • antibodies
  • infection


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