In this study, two highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 viruses were isolated from chicken and geese in 2018 and 2019 (Chicken/ME-2018 and Geese/Egypt/MG4/2019). The hemagglutinin and neuraminidase gene analyses revealed their close relatedness to the clade- H5N8 viruses isolated from Egypt and Eurasian countries. A monovalent inactivated oil-emulsion vaccine containing a reassortant virus with HA gene of the Chicken/ME-2018/H5N8 strain and a bivalent vaccine containing same reassortant virus plus a previously generated reassortant H5N1 strain (CK/Eg/RG-173CAL/17). The safety of both vaccines was evaluated in specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chickens. To evaluate the efficacy of the prepared vaccines, 2-week-old SPF chickens were vaccinated with 0.5 mL of a vaccine formula containing 10/EID /dose from each strain via the subcutaneous route. Vaccinated birds were challenged with either wild-type HPAI-H5N8 or H5N1 viruses separately at 3 weeks post-vaccine. Results revealed that both vaccines induced protective hemagglutination-inhibiting (HI) antibody titers as early as 2 weeks PV (≥5.0 log). Vaccinated birds were protected clinically against both subtypes (100 % protection). HPAI-H5N1 virus shedding was significantly reduced in birds that were vaccinated with the bivalent vaccine; meanwhile, HPAI-H5N8 virus shedding was completely neutralized in both tracheal and cloacal swabs after 3 days post-infection in birds that had been vaccinated with either vaccine. In conclusion, the developed bivalent vaccine proved to be efficient in protecting chickens clinically and reduced virus shedding via the respiratory and digestive tracts. The applicability of the multivalent avian influenza vaccines further supported their value to facilitate vaccination programs in endemic countries.
Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.