Towards a unique and transmissible vaccine against myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease for rabbit populations

Currently available vaccines against myxomatosis and rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) are not suited to immunise wild rabbit populations, as vaccines need to be delivered individually by conventional veterinary practices. As an alternative approach, research in Spain has focused on the development of a transmissible vaccine. A recombinant virus has been constructed based on a naturally attenuated myxoma virus (MV) field strain, expressing the RHDV capsid protein (VP60). Following inoculation of rabbits, the recombinant virus (MV-VP60) induced specific antibody responses against MV and RHDV, conferring protection against lethal challenges with both viruses. Furthermore, the recombinant MV-VP60 virus showed a limited horizontal transmission capacity, either by direct contact or in a flea-mediated process, promoting immunisation of contact uninoculated animals. Efficacy and safety of the vaccine have been extensively evaluated under laboratory conditions and in a limited field trial. The development of the transmissible vaccine strategy and the steps being taken to obtain the marketing authorisation for the vaccine in the European Union are presented in this review.

Author Elena Angulo and Juan Bárcena
Date 13/12/2007
Year 2007
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 34
Number 7
Pages 567-577
Notes Notes