Canine distemper virus (CDV) infection of ferrets as a model for testing Morbillivirus vaccine strategies: NYVAC- and ALVAC-based CDV recombinants protect against symptomatic infection

Charles B. Stephensen, Janet Welter, Subhashchandra R. Thaker, Jill Taylor, James Tartaglia, Enzo Paoletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

Canine distemper virus (CDV) infection of ferrets causes an acute systemic disease involving multiple organ systems, including the respiratory tract, lymphoid system, and central nervous system (CNS). We have tested candidate CDV vaccines incorporating the fusion (F) and hemagglutinin (HA) proteins in the highly attenuated NYVAC strain of vaccinia virus and in the ALVAC strain of canarypox virus, which dues not productively replicate in mammalian hosts. Juvenile ferrets were vaccinated twice with these constructs, or with an attenuated live-virus vaccine, while controls received saline or the NYVAC and ALVAC vectors expressing rabies virus glycoprotein. Control animals did not develop neutralizing antibody and succumbed to distemper after developing fever, weight loss, leukocytopenia, decreased activity, conjunctivitis, an erythematous rash typical of distemper, CNS signs, and viremia in peripheral blond mononuclear cells (as measured by reverse transcription-PCR). All three CDV vaccines elicited neutralizing titers of at least 1:96. All vaccinated ferrets survived, and none developed viremia. Both recombinant vaccines also protected against the development of symptomatic distemper. However, ferrets receiving the live-virus vaccine lost weight, became lymphocytopenic, and developed the erythematous rash typical of CDV. These data show that ferrets are an excellent model for evaluating the ability of CDV vaccines to protect against symptomatic infection. Because the pathogenesis and clinical course of CDV infection of ferrets is quite similar to that of other Morbillivirus infections, including measles, this rondel will be useful in testing new candidate Morbillivirus vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1506-1513
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume71
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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