A comparison of different vaccination schemes used in sheep combining inactivated bluetongue vaccines against serotypes 4 and 8

Eight different vaccination schemes using four commercially available inactivated Bluetongue vaccines against serotypes 4 and 8 in three different combinations (setting 1–3) were tested under field conditions for their ability to generate a measurable immune response in sheep. Animals of setting 1 (groups A–D) were simultaneously vaccinated using either individual injections at different locations (groups A & D) or double injection by a twin-syringe (groups B & C). For both application methods, a one-shot vaccination (groups C & D) was compared to a boosted vaccination (groups A & B). Sheep of setting 2 (groups E–G) were vaccinated in an alternating, boosted pattern at fortnightly intervals starting with serotype 4 (groups E & F) or vice versa (group G). Group H of setting 3 was vaccinated simultaneously and vaccines were injected individually as a one-shot application. Each group consisted of 30 sheep. The immunogenic response was tested in all sheep (n = 240) by ELISA (IDScreen®Bluetongue Competition), while serum neutralisation tests were performed in five to six sheep from each group (n = 45). All vaccine combinations were well tolerated by all sheep. Of all vaccines and schemes described, the simultaneous double injected boosted vaccination of setting 1 (group B) yielded the highest median serotype-specific titres 26 weeks after the first vaccination (afv) and 100% seropositive animals (ELISA) one year afv. In setting 1, there were no relevant significant differences in the immunogenic response between simultaneously applied vaccines at different sites or at the same injection site. Importantly, a one-shot vaccination induced comparable immunogenicity to a boosted injection half a year afv. Low serotype-specific neutralising antibody levels were detected in settings 2 and 3 and are attributed to diverse factors which may have influenced the measured immunogenicity.



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