Newcastle disease (ND) is one of the most important and devastating avian diseases with considerable threat to the global poultry industry. Hepatitis-hydropericardium syndrome (HHS), caused by virulent fowl adenovirus serotype 4 (FAdV-4), is another highly infectious disease in chickens with severe economic impact. The effective way to combat ND and HHS is by vaccinating the poultry. In the present study, a recombinant NDV LaSota vaccine strain expressing full length fiber-2 gene of FAdV-4 (rLaSota-fiber2) was generated using reverse genetics. The FAdV-4 fiber-2 protein was expressed as a soluble form rather than NDV membrane-anchored form. The rLaSota-fiber2 was genetically stable, and it showed growth patterns in embryonated eggs comparable to that of parental rLaSota virus. Since our unpublished data demonstrated that delivery of live rLaSota-fiber2 in drinking water or ocular delivery of the vaccine didn’t produce protection against hypervirulent FAdV-4 challenge, even though the vaccine provide full protection against NDV challenge, the efficacy of the rLaSota-fiber2 was evaluated by delivering the vaccine intramuscularly in this study. Single-dose intramuscular vaccination of 2-week-old SPF White Leghorn chicks with the live or inactivated rLaSota-fiber2 provided complete protection against virulent NDV challenge. However, single-dose intramuscular vaccination with the live rLaSota-fiber2 vaccine provided better protection against virulent FAdV-4 challenge and significantly reduced faecal viral shedding comparing to the inactivated vaccine. These results indicate that the NDV-vectored FAdV-4 vaccine is a promising bivalent vaccine candidate to control both HHS and ND.
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