A modified live bat influenza A virus-based vaccine prototype provides full protection against HPAIV H5N1
Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) of subtype H5 are a major threat for poultry holdings worldwide, here especially the zoonotic Asian H5N1 viruses. These HPAIVs have caused more than 500 fatal spillover infections from poultry to humans, with a looming danger of a new pandemic by establishing human-to-human transmissions. Besides culling measures in infected farms in endemic areas, vaccination is the major tool against HPAIV. However, the mainly used inactivated preparations have several limitations, like application to the individual animal by injection and a reduced efficiency. Here we present a modified live influenza vaccine prototype, which is based on the H17N10 bat influenza virus. The new chimeric vaccine strain R65mono/H17N10 was able to provide full protection against a lethal challenge infection with HPAIV H5N1 of juvenile and subadult chickens, as well as ferrets after oronasal immunization. In addition, the H5 vaccine prototype cannot reassort with avian influenza viruses and therefore is a promising tool against HPAIV H5 infection, allowing new vaccination strategies for efficient disease control.