Infectious bursal disease (IBD), an immunosuppressive disease of young chickens, is caused by infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV). Novel variant IBDV (nVarIBDV), a virus that can evade immune protection against very virulent IBDV (vvIBDV), is becoming a threat to the poultry industry. Therefore, nVarIBDV-specific vaccine is much needed for nVarIBDV control. In this study, the VP2 protein of SHG19 (a representative strain of nVarIBDV) was successfully expressed using an expression system and further purified via ammonium sulfate precipitation and size-exclusion chromatography. The purified protein SHG19-VP2-466 could self-assemble into 25-nm virus-like particle (VLP). Subsequently, the immunogenicity and protective effect of the SHG19-VLP vaccine were evaluated using animal experiments, which indicated that the SHG19-VLP vaccine elicited neutralization antibodies and provided 100% protection against the nVarIBDV. Furthermore, the protective efficacy of the SHG19-VLP vaccine against the vvIBDV was evaluated. Although the SHG19-VLP vaccine induced a comparatively lower vvIBDV-specific neutralization antibody titer, it provided good protection against the lethal vvIBDV. In summary, the SHG19-VLP candidate vaccine could provide complete immune protection against the homologous nVarIBDV as well as the heterologous vvIBDV. This study is of significance to the comprehensive prevention and control of the recent atypical IBD epidemic.
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