Modification of the avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus for vaccine development

Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) causes an infectious respiratory disease of domestic fowl that affects poultry of all ages causing economic problems for the poultry industry worldwide. Although IBV is controlled using live attenuated and inactivated vaccines it continues to be a major problem due to the existence of many serotypes, determined by the surface spike protein resulting in poor cross-protection, and loss of immunogenicity associated with vaccine production. Live attenuated IBV vaccines are produced by the repeated passage in embryonated eggs resulting in spontaneous mutations. As a consequence attenuated viruses have only a few mutations responsible for the loss of virulence, which will differ between vaccines affecting virulence and/or immunogenicity and can revert to virulence. A new generation of vaccines is called for and one means of controlling IBV involves the development of new and safer vaccines by precisely modifying the IBV genome using reverse genetics for the production of rationally attenuated IBVs in order to obtain an optimum balance between loss of virulence and capacity to induce immunity.

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