A recombinant vaccine, produced by using a highly attenuated smallpox vaccine (LC16mO) as a vector and which expresses the rinderpest virus (RPV) haemagglutinin protein, has been developed. The properties of this vaccine, including its heat stability, efficacy in short-term trials, safety and genetic stability, have been confirmed in an earlier report. In the present study, the duration of the protective immunity generated by the vaccine in cattle was examined for up to 3 years following the administration of a single vaccination dose of 10 p.f.u. The vaccinated cattle were kept for 2 (group I) or 3 years (group II) and then challenged with a highly virulent strain of RPV. Four of five vaccinated cattle in group I and all six cattle in group II survived the challenge, some showing solid immunity without any clinical signs of rinderpest. Neutralizing antibodies were maintained at a significant level for up to 3 years and they increased rapidly following challenge. Lymphocyte proliferative responses to RPV were examined in group II cattle and were observed in four of the six vaccinated cattle in this group. The long-lasting protective immunity, in addition to the other properties confirmed previously, indicate the practical usefulness of this vaccine for field use.


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