Vaccination against Borna Disease: Overview, Vaccine Virus Characterization and Investigation of Live and Inactivated Vaccines
Abstract: Background: Vaccination of horses and sheep against Borna disease (BD) was common in endemic areas of Germany in the 20th century but was abandoned in the early 1990s. The recent occurrence of fatal cases of human encephalitis due to Borna disease virus 1 (BoDV-1) has rekindled the interest in vaccination. Methods: The full genomes of the BD live vaccine viruses “Dessau” and “Giessen” were sequenced and analyzed for the first time. All vaccination experiments followed a proof-of-concept approach. Dose-titration infection experiments were performed in rabbits, based on both cell culture- and brain-derived viruses at various doses. Inactivated vaccines against BD were produced from concentrated cell culture supernatants and investigated in rabbits and horses. The BoDV-1 live vaccine “Dessau” was administered to horses and antibody profiles were determined. Results: The BD live vaccine viruses “Dessau” and “Giessen” belong to clusters 3 and 4 of BoDV-1. Whereas the “Giessen” virus does not differ substantially from field viruses, the “Dessau” virus shows striking differences in the M gene and the N-terminal part of the G gene. Rabbits infected with high doses of cell-cultured virus developed neutralizing antibodies and were protected from disease, whereas rabbits infected with low doses of cell-cultured virus, or with brain-derived virus did not. Inactivated vaccines were administered to rabbits and horses, following pre-defined vaccination schemes consisting of three vaccine doses of either adjuvanted or nonadjuvanted inactivated virus. Their immunogenicity and protective efficacy were compared to the BD live vaccine “Dessau”. Seventy per cent of horses vaccinated with the BD live vaccine “Dessau” developed neutralizing antibodies after vaccination. Conclusion: Despite a complex evasion of immunological responses by bornaviruses, some vaccination approaches can protect against clinical disease. For optimal effectiveness, vaccines should be administered at high doses, following vaccination schemes consisting of three vaccine doses as basic immunization. Further investigations are necessary in order to investigate and improve protection against infection and to avoid side effects.
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