Article

Laboratory tests for evaluating the level of attenuation of bluetongue virus

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise G. Caporale, Via Campo Boario, 64100 Teramo, Italy.
Journal of Virological Methods (Impact Factor: 1.88). 10/2008; 153(2):263-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2008.07.007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT One of the most important steps when preparing a live attenuated vaccine is the assessment of the level of attenuation in target animals. It is costly and time consuming as it requires, on each occasion, a large number of susceptible animals and contained accommodation. This study assessed the consistency of the bovine foetal aorta endothelial (BFA) cell line and newborn mice for evaluating the attenuation level of BTV4, BTV9 and BTV16 Italian field isolates. Following serial passages in BHK(21c13) or Vero cell cultures, BTV attenuated clones demonstrated a reduced replication capability in the BFA cells compared to the homologous virulent strains. Similarly, following intracerebral inoculation, the attenuated clones were completely innocuous to newborn mice contrary to the homologous virulent strains which killed all animals within 10 days. Vaccines produced with the BTV9 or BTV4 attenuated clones were safe, immunogenic and capable of preventing clinical symptoms and viraemia in sheep following challenge with homologous virulent virus. The two assays may be valuable indicators of the gradual changes occurring in the BTV population leading to virus attenuation, they can predict the safety of a BTV attenuated vaccine and, in turn, reduce the number of sheep and cattle required to assess the level of attenuation attained.

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