A triple gene mutant of BoHV-1 administered intranasally is significantly more efficacious than a BoHV-1 glycoprotein E-deleted virus against a virulent BoHV-1 challenge

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Bovine herpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1) causes respiratory infections and abortions in cattle, and is an important component of bovine respiratory disease complex, which causes a considerable economic loss worldwide. Several efforts have been made to produce safer and more effective vaccines. One of these vaccines is a glycoprotein E (gE)-deleted marker vaccine which is currently mandated for use in EU countries. In the present study, we have constructed a three-gene-mutated BoHV-1 vaccine virus (UL49.5 luminal domain residues 30-32 and cytoplasmic tail residues 80-96 deleted, gE cytoplasmic tail- and entire Us9-deleted) and compared its protective vaccine efficacy in calves after intranasal vaccination with that of a gE-deleted virus. Following vaccination, both the triple mutant and gE-deleted vaccine virus replicated well in the nasal epithelium of the calves. The vaccinated calves did not show any clinical signs. Four weeks post-vaccination, the animals were challenged intranasally with a virulent BoHV-1 wild-type virus. Based on clinical signs, both the gE-deleted and triple mutant group were protected equally against the virulent BoHV-1 challenge. However, based on the quantity and duration of nasal viral shedding, virus neutralizing antibody and cellular immune responses, the triple mutant virus vaccine induced a significantly better protective immune response than the gE-deleted virus vaccine. Notably, after the virulent BoHV-1 challenge, the triple mutant virus vaccinated group cleared the challenge virus three days earlier than the BoHV-1 gE-deleted virus vaccinated group.

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