Babesiosis is a disease complex caused by unicellular Babesia parasites and among them, malignant ovine babesiosis caused by B. ovis has a devastating economical impact on the small ruminant industry. The control of disease is mainly based on chemotherapy and preventing animals from tick infestation and to date no vaccine is available against ovine babesiosis. The requirement for vaccination against B. ovis infection in endemically unstable regions is necessary for implementation of effective disease control measures. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of different immunisation protocols against disease in sheep experimentally vaccinated with recombinant B. ovis apical membrane antigen-1 (rBoAMA-1) and/or live, a B. ovis-infected cell line. Sheep were divided into four experimental groups, plus a control group. Animals were immunised either with the B. ovis stabilate, or with rBoAMA-1, or with both rBoAMA-1 and the B. ovis stabilate. Western blots and ELISAs indicated that immunisation with rBoAMA-1 resulted in generation of a specific response against the recombinant protein, but the degree of antibody response did not correlate with the level of induced protection against challenge. The strongest immune response was induced in animals co-immunised with the live B. ovis stabilate plus rBoAMA-1. Both the hematological and parasitological findings indicated that this co-immunisation regimen has vaccine potential to limit losses incurred by ovine babesiosis in endemic countries.
Keywords: AMA-1; Babesia ovis; Babesiosis; Effectiveness; Vaccine.
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