Assessment of Mycoplasma gallisepticum vaccine efficacy in a co-infection challenge model with QX-like infectious bronchitis virus

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posted on 14.03.2018 by Dauda G. Bwala, Ponman Solomon, Neil Duncan, Daniel B.R. Wandrag, Celia Abolnik

Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) is the primary cause of chronic respiratory disease in poultry. We investigated the protective efficacy of the live-attenuated ts-11 and 6/85 MG vaccines against a local MG strain and, in order to enhance signs and mimic a typical field situation, we co-infected birds with a virulent strain of QX-like infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). Both vaccines showed similar ability to protect infected chickens from clinical signs, although ts-11 performed slightly better. Despite the lower protection against clinical disease, 6/85-vaccinated birds had significantly (P ≤ 0.05) lower tracheal lesion scores and mucosal thickness at day 28 post-vaccination (7 days post-challenge [dpc] with MG, 2 dpc IBV) and day 31 post-vaccination (10 dpc MG challenge, 5 dpc IBV) compared to ts-11 vaccinated birds, but these difference was not significant at day 33 (12 dpc MG, 7 dpc IBV). Pathogen infection and replication was assessed by qPCR, and the 6/85 vaccine produced a more significant (P ≤ 0.05) reduction in MG replication in the lungs, kidneys and livers but enhanced late replication in bursae and caecal tonsils. In contrast, the ts-11 vaccine had a more pronounced reductive effect on replication in tracheas, air sacs, bursae and heart at days 28 and 31, yet increased replication in lungs. Interestingly, both vaccines provided non-specific protection against IBV challenge. The co-challenge model provided useful data on vaccine efficacy, especially on days 31 and 33, and tracheas, lungs, air sacs, kidneys, liver and caecal tonsils were the best organs to assess.


This work was funded by CA’s Inventive Fund for Rated Researchers grant from South Africa’s National Research Foundation.