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A long-term study of Australian infectious bronchitis viruses indicates a major antigenic change in recently isolated strains

Ignjatovic, J., Sapats, S.I., Ashton, F.
Avian pathology 1997 v.26 no.3 pp. 535-552
chickens, Infectious bronchitis virus, strain differences, epitopes, vaccination, geographical variation, incidence, genetic variation, cross reaction, Australia
The antigenic relationship among 36 IBV strains isolated between 1961 and 1994 from vaccinated and non-vaccinated chicken flocks was determined. Based on the reaction with nine monoclonal andbodies (MAbs) in ELISA and polyclonal chicken sera in western blotting, IBV strains clearly fell into two distinct antigenic groups. Nineteen IBV strains isolated between 1961 and 1994 from various locations were antigenically related, having common cross-reactive epitopes on the peplomer S, the nucleocapsid N and the membrane M proteins. IBV strains within this classical group could be antigenically differentiated further by serotyping and by their reaction with MAbs. Seventeen IBV strains isolated between 1988 and 1994, shared only a minor degree of antigenic similarity with strains in the classical group. Strains in this novel group were antigenically related to each other and shared cross-reactive epitopes particularly on the N and M proteins. The novel IBV strains were not detected before 1988 and their origin is unknown. They appeared suddenly and almost simultaneously at two distant commercial sites, Redland Bay and Appin, and were also isolated at a third location in Victoria 3 years later. The Appin strains persisted on the site for 3 years without changes in antigenicity, including the serotype; however, following introduction of vaccination with novel strains a variant of new serotype was isolated. Variants isolated in Victoria on the other hand showed greater antigenic diversity and tendency for change. Novel strains have not displaced classical strains which continued to be isolated frequently.