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Becker, Jens Michael (2015): In vivo evaluation of recombinant Vaccinia virus MVA delivering ancestral H9 hemagglutinin antigen of Avian Influenza virus. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine



Avian Influenza (AI) viruses pose a threat to human and animal health and are responsible for potential economic losses. From the waterfowl reservoir, these RNA viruses can be transmitted to domestic poultry and humans, causing illness and death among people as well as mass culling of farm birds worldwide. This study contributes to increasing the knowledge by evaluating a promising poxvirus-based vector vaccine that carries and expresses an artificial, computationally derived hemagglutinin sequence in order to induce immunity against low pathogenic avian influenza H9N2. Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) based vaccines have been tested in multiple human and animal trials and proved to be a safe and reliable vector system. The ancestral strategy uses a hemagglutinin sequence located at the node of a phylogenetic tree which arranges virus strains according to their evolutionary relationship. Inactivated whole virus vaccines engineered this way have conferred cross-clade protection in the ferret model of influenza A virus infections. In the present study, we aimed at testing the ancestral H9N2 MVA vaccine in the chicken model. Hereby, we tried to find answers to the following questions: What levels of H9 specific antibody responses are induced in chicken? Do the antibodies elicited by the ancestral H9 antigen cross-react with H9 antigens from other virus strains? Do the induced antibodies confer protection?