A new recombinant Orf virus (ORFV, Parapoxvirus) protects rabbits against lethal infection with rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV)

This report describes the generation of a new recombinant Orf virus (ORFV; Parapoxvirus) expressing the major capsid protein VP1 (VP60) of the calicivirus, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV). Authentic expression of VP1 could be demonstrated in cells infected with the recombinant D1701-V-VP1 without the need for production of infectious ORFV progeny. Notably, infected cells also released empty calicivirus-like particles (VLPs). Challenge experiments showed that even a single immunization with =105 PFU of D1701-V-VP1 protected rabbits against lethal RHDV infection. ELISA tests indicated that the protective immunity mediated by D1701-V-VP1 did not strictly depend on the presence of detectable RHDV-specific serum antibodies. The induction of interleukin-2 found only in the sera of rabbits immunized with the D1701-V-VP1, but not in sera of rabbits immunized with the inactivated commercial vaccine RIKA-VACC, might indicate also some involvement of T-cells in protection. Collectively, this work adds another example of the successful use of the ORFV vector system for the generation of a recombinant vaccine, and demonstrates its potential as an alternative vaccine to protect rabbits against RHDV infection.



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