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Open Access Short report

H5-based DNA constructs derived from selected highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus induce high levels of humoral antibodies in Muscovy ducks against low pathogenic viruses

Olivier Guionie12, Éric Niqueux12*, Michel Amelot23, Stéphanie Bougeard24 and Véronique Jestin12

Author Affiliations

1 Anses (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety), Ploufragan/Plouzané laboratory, Avian and Rabbit Virology Immunology and Parasitology Unit, B.P. 53, Ploufragan 22440, France

2 European University of Britanny (Université européenne de Bretagne), Rennes, France

3 Anses (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety), Ploufragan/Plouzané laboratory, Avian Experimentation and Breeding Service, B.P. 53, Ploufragan 22440, France

4 Anses (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety), Ploufragan/Plouzané laboratory, Swine Epidemiology and Welfare Research Unit, B.P.53, Ploufragan 22440, France

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Virology Journal 2014, 11:74  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-74

Published: 24 April 2014

Abstract

Background

H5 low pathogenic avian influenza virus (LPAIV) infection in domestic ducks is a major problem in duck producing countries. Their silent circulation is an ongoing source of potential highly pathogenic or zoonotic emerging strains. To prevent such events, vaccination of domestic ducks might be attempted but remains challenging. Currently licensed vector vaccines derived from H5N1 HPAIV possess clade 0, clade 2.2 or clade 2.3.4 HA sequences: selection of the best HA candidate inducing the largest cross protection is a key issue. For this purpose, DNA immunization of specific pathogen free Muscovy ducks was performed using different synthetic codon optimized (opt) or native HA genes from H5N2 LPAIV and several H5N1 HPAIV clade 2.1, 2.2.1 and 2.3.4. Humoral cross-immunity was assessed 3 weeks after boost by hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and virus neutralization (VN) against three French H5 LPAIV antigens.

Findings

Vaccination with LP H5N2 HA induced the highest VN antibody titre against the homologous antigen; however, the corresponding HI titre was lower and comparable to HI titres obtained after immunization with opt HA derived from clades 2.3.4 or 2.1. Compared to the other HPAIV-derived constructs, vaccination with clade 2.3.4 opt HA consistently induced the highest antibody titres in HI and VN, when tested against all three H5 LPAIV antigens and H5N2 LPAIV, respectively: differences in titres against this last strain were statistically significant.

Conclusion

The present study provides a standardized method to assess cross-immunity based on HA immunogenicity alone, and suggests that clade 2.3.4-derived recombinant vaccines might be the optimal candidates for further challenge testing to vaccinate domestic Muscovy ducks against H5 LPAIV.

Keywords:
Avian influenzavirus; H5; DNA immunization; Duck; Hemagglutination inhibition; Virus neutralization; Cross-reactions