Heterologous post-infection immunity against Egyptian avian influenza virus (AIV) H9N2 modulates the course of subsequent infection by highly pathogenic AIV H5N1, but vaccination immunity does not
In Egypt, zoonotic A/goose/Guangdong/1/96 (gs/GD-like) highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N1 of clade 220.127.116.11 is entrenched in poultry populations and has co-circulated with low-pathogenic avian influenza virus H9N2 of the G1 lineage since 2010. Here, the impact of H9N2 infection or vaccination on the course of consecutive infection with a lethal Egyptian HPAIV H5N1 is studied. Three-week-old chickens were infected with H9N2 or vaccinated with inactivated H9N2 or H5N1 antigens and challenged three weeks later by an HPAIV H5N1. Interestingly, pre-infection of chickens with H9N2 decreased the oral excretion of H5N1 to levels that were comparable to those of H5N1-immunized chickens, but vaccination with inactivated H9N2 did not. H9N2 pre-infection modulated but did not conceal clinical disease by HPAIV H5N1. By contrast, homologous H5 vaccination abolished clinical syndromic surveillance, although vaccinated clinical healthy birds were capable of spreading the virus.
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