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To evaluate efficacy of a novel vaccine against rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2) in domestic rabbits.
40 New Zealand White rabbits obtained from a commercial breeder.
Rabbits were vaccinated and held at the production facility for the duration of the vaccination phase and transferred to Colorado State University for challenge with RHDV2. Rabbits were challenged with oral suspensions containing infectious virus and monitored for clinical disease for up to 10 days. Rabbits that died or were euthanized following infection were necropsied, and livers were evaluated for viral RNA via RT-PCR.
None of the vaccinated animals (0/9) exhibited clinical disease or mortality following infection with RHDV2 while 9/13 (69%) of the control animals succumbed to lethal disease following infection.
The novel vaccine described herein provided complete protection against lethal infection following RHDV2 challenge. Outside of emergency use, there are currently no licensed vaccines against RHDV2 on the market in the United States; as such, this vaccine candidate would provide an option for control of this disease now that RHDV2 has become established in North America.