Humoral Immune Response of Thai Dogs after Oral Vaccination against Rabies with the SPBN GASGAS Vaccine Strain
Applied research is crucial in pushing the boundaries and finding a solution to the age-old problem of dog-mediated rabies. Although oral vaccination of dogs is considered to have great potential in mass dog vaccination campaigns and could have far-reaching benefits, it is perhaps the most ignored of all available tools in efforts to eliminate dog-mediated rabies, not least because of limited data on immunogenicity, efficacy, and safety of potential oral rabies vaccine candidates. In this study, the long-term immunogenicity in local Thai dogs after oral administration of the highly attenuated 3rd generation rabies virus vaccine strain SPBN GASGAS was assessed. The oral rabies vaccine was administered to dogs by either direct oral administration (n = 10) or by offering a vaccine loaded intestine bait (n = 15). The humoral immune response was then compared to three groups of dogs; a group that received a parenteral delivered inactivated rabies vaccine (n = 10), a group offered a placebo intestine bait (n = 7), and a control group (n = 4) for an observation period of 365 days. There was no significant difference in the immune response of dogs that received oral and parenteral vaccine in terms of magnitude, kinetics, and persistence of both rabies virus (RABV) neutralizing (RFFIT) and binding (ELISA) antibodies. Although the single parenteral injection of an inactivated rabies vaccine mounted a slightly higher humoral immune response than the orally delivered live vaccine, RABV specific antibodies of both types were still detectable after one year in most animals for all treatment groups and resulted in no difference in seropositivity. Characterization of rabies specific antibodies revealed two main classes of antibodies involved in the immune response of dogs vaccinated. While IgM antibodies were the first to appear, the succeeding IgG response was mainly IgG2 dominated independent of the vaccine type used. The results support the view that SPBN GASGAS induces a sustained detectable immune response in local dogs both after direct oral administration and via bait application.