Development of marker vaccines for rinderpest virus using reverse genetics technology

Rinderpest is an economically devastating disease of cattle (cattle plague), but a live-attenuated vaccine has been very successfully used in a global rinderpest eradication campaign. As a consequence, the endemic focus of the virus has been reduced to an area in eastern Africa known as the Kenya-Somali ecosystem. Although the vaccine is highly effective, it has a drawback in that vaccinated animals are serologically indistinguishable from those that have recovered from natural infection. In the final stages of the eradication campaign, when vaccination to control the spread of disease will only be used in emergencies to contain an outbreak, a marker vaccine would be a very useful tool to monitor possible wild virus spread outside the vaccination area. Marker vaccines for rinderpest, and other viruses with negative-sense RNA genomes, can now be produced using reverse genetics, and the development of such marker vaccines for rinderpest virus is described.

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