A recombinant baculovirus containing the S1 glycoprotein gene of the virulent nephropathogenic KM91 strain of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) was constructed in order to investigate protective immunity in vaccinated chickens. Results from the protection test were evaluated by re-isolation of virus from the kidneys and tracheas of vaccinated chickens after challenge with strain KM91. After three immunizations, the recombinant S1 (rS1) glycoprotein induced 50% protection of the kidney, whilst inactivated KM91 induced 88% and 50% protection of the kidney and trachea, respectively. In chickens primed with the attenuated H120 vaccine strain, which is heterologous to KM91, the rS1 glycoprotein induced 83% protection of the kidney after two immunizations. Haemagglutination-inhibition titres were also increased in chickens immunized with the rS1 glycoprotein after three immunizations, and significantly higher titres were detected after challenge. These data indicate that the expressed rS1 glycoprotein alone can induce a protective immune response as well as an antibody response.


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