Comparable Long-Term Rabies Immunity in Foxes after IntraMuscular and Oral Application Using a Third-Generation Oral Rabies Virus Vaccine
The live genetically-engineered oral rabies virus (RABV) variant SPBN GASGAS induces long-lasting immunity in foxes and protection against challenge with an otherwise lethal dose of RABV field strains both after experimental oral and parenteral routes of administration. Induction of RABV-specific binding antibodies and immunoglobulin isotypes (IgM, total IgG, IgG1, IgG2) were comparable in orally and parenterally vaccinated foxes. Differences were only observed in the induction of virus-neutralizing (VNA) titers, which were significantly higher in the parenterally vaccinated group. The dynamics of rabies-specific antibodies pre- and post-challenge (365 days post vaccination) suggest the predominance of type-1 immunity protection of SPBN GASGAS. Independent of the route of administration, in the absence of IgG1 the immune response to SPBN GAGAS was mainly IgG2 driven. Interestingly, vaccination with SPBN GASGAS does not cause significant differences in inducible IFN-γ production in vaccinated animals, indicating a relatively weak cellular immune response during challenge. Notably, the parenteral application of SPBN GASGAS did not induce any adverse side effects in foxes, thus supporting safety studies of this oral rabies vaccine in various species.