Simultaneous infection with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome and influenza viruses abrogates clinical protection induced by live attenuated porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome vaccination

The porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC) is responsible for significant economic losses in the pig industry worldwide. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and swine influenza virus are major viral contributors to PRDC. Vaccines are cost-effective measures for controlling PRRS, however, their efficacy in the context of co-infections has been poorly investigated. In this study, we aimed to determine the effect of PRRSV-2 and swine influenza H3N2 virus co-infection on the efficacy of PRRSV modified live virus (MLV) vaccination, which is widely used in the field. Following simultaneous challenge with contemporary PRRSV-2 and H3N2 field isolates, we found that the protective effect of PRRS MLV vaccination on clinical disease and pathology was abrogated, although viral load was unaffected and antibody responses were enhanced. In contrast, co-infection in non-immunized animals reduced PRRSV-2 viremia and H3N2 virus load in the upper respiratory tract and potentiated T cell responses against both PRRSV-2 and H3N2 in the lung. Further analysis suggested that an upregulation of inhibitory cytokines gene expression in the lungs of vaccinated pigs may have influenced responses to H3N2 and PRRSV-2. These findings provide important insights into the effect of viral co-infections on PRRS vaccine efficacy that may help identify more effective vaccination strategies against PRDC in the field.

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