Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Towards a unique and transmissible vaccine against myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease for rabbit populations

Elena Angulo A and Juan Bárcena B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Systématique & Evolution, UMR CNRS 8079, Université Paris Sud, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France.

B Centro de Investigación en Sanidad Animal (CISA-INIA), Valdeolmos, 28130 Madrid, Spain.

C Corresponding author. Email: barcena@inia.es

Wildlife Research 34(7) 567-577 https://doi.org/10.1071/WR06160
Submitted: 24 November 2006  Accepted: 18 July 2007   Published: 13 December 2007

Abstract

Currently available vaccines against myxomatosis and rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) are not suited to immunise wild rabbit populations, as vaccines need to be delivered individually by conventional veterinary practices. As an alternative approach, research in Spain has focused on the development of a transmissible vaccine. A recombinant virus has been constructed based on a naturally attenuated myxoma virus (MV) field strain, expressing the RHDV capsid protein (VP60). Following inoculation of rabbits, the recombinant virus (MV-VP60) induced specific antibody responses against MV and RHDV, conferring protection against lethal challenges with both viruses. Furthermore, the recombinant MV-VP60 virus showed a limited horizontal transmission capacity, either by direct contact or in a flea-mediated process, promoting immunisation of contact uninoculated animals. Efficacy and safety of the vaccine have been extensively evaluated under laboratory conditions and in a limited field trial. The development of the transmissible vaccine strategy and the steps being taken to obtain the marketing authorisation for the vaccine in the European Union are presented in this review.


Acknowledgements

Elena Angulo acknowledges funding by the ANR-Biodiversité project. The development of the MV-VP60 recombinant vaccine was supported by an agreement between the ‘Fundación para el Estudio y Defensa de la Naturaleza y la Caza’ (FEDENCA) and the ‘Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnologıía Agraria y Alimentaria’ (INIA).


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