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Phylogenetic analysis of infectious bronchitis virus circulating in southern China in 2016–2017 and evaluation of an attenuated strain as a vaccine candidate

Chen, Libin, Xiang, Bin, Hong, Yanfen, Li, Qian, Du, Haoyun, Lin, Qiuyan, Liao, Ming, Ren, Tao, Xu, Chenggang
Archives of virology 2021 v.166 no.1 pp. 73-81
Infectious bronchitis virus, chicken eggs, chickens, farms, genotype, infection, infectious bronchitis, live vaccines, phylogeny, poultry industry, protective effect, respiratory tract diseases, safety testing, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), specific pathogen-free animals, strains, viral shedding, virology, China
Avian infectious bronchitis (IB) is a highly contagious viral respiratory disease, caused by infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), that poses an important economic threat to the poultry industry. In recent years, genotypes GI-7, GI-13, and GI-19 have been the most prevalent IBV strains in China. However, in this study, we found that most IBV strains from southern China in 2016–2017 belonged to genotype GVI-1. This genotype, for which there is no vaccine, has been reported sporadically in the region. The GDTS13 strain, which caused severe IB outbreaks on the farms where it was isolated, was evaluated as a candidate vaccine strain. GDTS13 was serially passaged in specific-pathogen-free embryonated chicken eggs for 100 generations to produce GDTS13-F100. Safety testing indicated that GDTS13-F100 had no pathogenic effect on chickens. Additionally, GDTS13-F100 showed an excellent protective effect against GDTS13, with no clinical signs or virus shedding observed in immunized chickens challenged with the parent strain. These findings indicate that GVI-1 has become the most prevalent IBV genotype in southern China and that GDTS13-F100 may serve as an attenuated vaccine to protect against infection with this genotype.