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, 23 (1-4), 85-101

Marker Vaccines, Virus Protein-Specific Antibody Assays and the Control of Aujeszky's Disease


Marker Vaccines, Virus Protein-Specific Antibody Assays and the Control of Aujeszky's Disease

J T van Oirschot et al. Vet Microbiol.


Vaccination of pigs is widely practised to control Aujeszky's disease (AD). Molecular biological research revealed that several conventionally attenuated virus vaccines harbour deletions in their genomes. The deleted genes are nonessential for virus replication and can be involved in the expression of virulence. These findings have prompted several groups to construct well-characterized deletion mutants of AD virus that do not express either glycoprotein gI, gX or gIII. These mutants have also been rendered thymidine kinase negative. Although data on vaccine efficacy and safety have been published, widely varying test conditions have made it impossible to identify the most efficacious deletion mutant vaccine(s). Vaccination enhances the amount of virus required for infection and reduces, but does not prevent, the shedding of virulent virus and the establishment of latency in pigs infected with virulent AD virus. Therefore, while a vaccination programme will reduce the circulation of virus in the field, it will not eliminate AD virus from pig populations. To eradicate AD, the ability to differentiate infected from vaccinated pigs is crucial. The use of marker vaccines enables us to identify infected pigs in vaccinated populations by detecting antibodies against the protein whose gene is deleted from vaccine strains. The antibody response to gI appears to persist for more than 2 years, and all of about 300 field strains tested so far express gI. The use of vaccines lacking gI in combination with an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay to detect antibodies to gI and culling of gI-seropositive pigs, may help to eradicate AD in countries where vaccination is widely practised.

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