New vaccine fights poultry diseases

ARS-developed vaccine effective against both ILT and Newcastle disease in poultry.

A vaccine that protects chickens against two infectious poultry diseases has been developed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

Microbiologist Qingzhong Yu and his colleagues at the ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL) in Athens, Ga., created a vaccine that is effective against infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) and Newcastle disease (ND).

ILT and ND are two of the most economically important infectious diseases of poultry. They cause sickness and death in commercial poultry as well as in some wild birds throughout the world.

By using reverse genetics technology, Yu was able to generate new dual vaccines by inserting a gene from the ILT virus into the ND virus LaSota vaccine strain, which has been used for more than 50 years to protect poultry from ND.

Vaccines were tested in more than 100 one-day-old chickens and 120 three-day-old commercial broilers. All vaccinated birds were protected against both ILT and ND challenges. They showed little or no clinical signs and no decrease in bodyweight gains. The vaccines were found to be stable and safe in chickens of all ages, ARS reported.

According to Yu, the new vaccines are safer than the current live-attenuated ILT vaccines. They can be safely and effectively given by aerosol or drinking water to large chicken populations at a low cost.

This research was recently published in the Journal of Virology.

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