Evaluation of Infectious Bronchitis Virus Arkansas-type Vaccine Failure in Commercial Broilers

Avian Dis. 2013 Jun;57(2):248-59. doi: 10.1637/10459-112812-Reg.1.


Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) causes an upper respiratory tract disease in chickens and is highly contagious. Many different types of the virus exist, but only a few types are used as attenuated live vaccines in the commercial poultry industry. Of the vaccine types used, the Arkansas (Ark)-type virus is most frequently reisolated from vaccinated broilers. Previous research has suggested that incomplete clearance of Ark-type vaccine virus plays a role in the inadequate protection observed when vaccinated broilers are challenged with pathogenic Ark virus. In this study, we examine routes of vaccine administration using multiple IBV types including Ark in an effort to understand why Ark vaccines do not provide good protection and persist in commercial broilers. We found that interference between different types of IBV vaccines was not occurring when combined and administered using a commercial hatchery spray cabinet. Also, Ark vaccine virus was not efficacious in 1-day-old broilers when sprayed using a hatchery spray cabinet, but it gave good protection when administrated by eyedrop inoculation. We also found that the amount of Ark vaccine virus was low or undetectable in choanal swabs out to 35 days postvaccination when vaccine was administered by eyedrop or drinking water. Alternatively, a subpopulation of the Ark vaccine isolated from a vaccinated bird, Ark-RI-EP1, showed a peak titer at 7-10 days of age when given by the same routes, suggesting that the Ark-RI-EP1 was more fit with regard to infection, replication in the birds, or both. Moreover, we found that detection of IBV vaccine virus early after administration, regardless of strain or route, correlated with protection against homologous challenge and may thus be a good indicator of vaccine efficacy in the field because humoral antibody titers are typically low or undetectable after vaccination. These experiments provided key findings that can be used to direct efforts for improving the efficacy of IBV Ark-type vaccines given in the hatchery. They also elucidated factors contributing to the persistence of Ark vaccine in the field.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Infectious bronchitis virus
  • Poultry Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Poultry Diseases / virology
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / pharmacology
  • Viral Vaccines / pharmacology


  • Vaccines, Attenuated
  • Viral Vaccines